Rich Andrews: Paying it Forward
May 17, 2018
Rich Andrews earned a myriad of accolades over a long career. A few that come to mind include Vic Braden’s USTA Coaches Certification in 1980, USTA NorCal Adult Sportsmanship Award in 1984, USTA/USPTA Specialist in Competitive Development Certification in 1999 and USTA NorCal Fred A. Earle Pro of the Year Award in 2010. But these awards are the icing on a long, storied tennis career.
Crediting a babysitter for introducing him to the game at age 9, Rich started in USTA tournaments at age 11 thanks to a friend. He continued to grow his tennis skills at Gunn High School where he won league championships with his team. In 1970, Rich won the Doubles Central Coast Section Championships with Glen Miller. He reached the semifinals at the Pacific Coast Championships, and won the Canadian Open Junior Championship at age 17.ADVERTISEMENT
Rich spent his college years at Foothill Community College first, then University of Washington. He played #1 for Foothill. In 1971-72, he was the California State Junior Champion and Foothill College “Athlete of the Year.” After receiving a full scholarship at UW, he reached the round of 32 at the NCAA Championships in 1974. Unfortunately, he missed playing in his senior year due to an ankle injury, but that didn’t stop him.
In 1975, Rich started the Racquet Shop Incorporated, a tennis shop in Palm Springs. He also started a program for disadvantaged youth at the Boys and Girls Club, teaching the game to 70 boys and girls. In late 1975, when John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg were coming up, he joined Mission Hills Country Club as interim Tennis Director. Mission Hills Country Club used to host the American Airlines tournament (now the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA), and a sponsor, Bancroft, asked him to hold a clinic, which Bjorn Borg participated in.
Working in 1976 at Marina Yacht & Tennis Club, the owners and members raised the money to send him to the Australian Satellite Circuit, helping launch his pro career. He made it to Wimbledon and the U.S. Open qualifying, and sustained an ATP ranking for seven years—405 in singles and 286 in doubles. Rich developed a strong junior program with players doing well in college and pro tour.
Rich retired after 32 years from Spare Time where he was Tennis Director. While there, he helped found and develop the Spare Time Junior Tennis Academy which now has two locations—Rio Del Oro Racquet Club in Sacramento and Broadstone Racquet Club in Folsom. He worked closely with Bill and Margie Campbell (Owners) to develop the academy as Corporate Tennis Director. His program has produced more than 25 national junior titles. He also organized Friday Night Live, a state-sponsored endeavor to promote alcohol and drug free youth programs.
Rich served as a Tournament Director for more than 30 events. Between his pro career as a player and a coach and his leadership in developing youth programs, you could say Rich lived his desire to pay it forward.