Women in Tennis: Kim Scullion
In celebration of Women’s History Month, throughout March USTA Florida is celebrating all the women whose passion and presence continue to fuel the growth and success of tennis — at every level. We’re committed to supporting, elevating and attracting diverse women to all aspects of the tennis industry in Florida.
An experienced USPTA and PTR certified teaching professional, Kim Scullion is the Head Tennis Pro at Countryside Country Club in Clearwater. From running tournaments to stringing racquets, Scullion is devoted to the sport and continues to do her part to grow the game at the club level.
How long have you been involved in tennis?
I have been involved in tennis for over 30 years. I got my USPTA certification back in 1993 and my PTR certification in 2017. I stay current not only with my membership dues but also continuing education.
When did you first pick up a racquet and how did you get your start in the sport?
I was a late bloomer when it came to tennis. Basketball was my sport up until I turned 17 and was burned out. Tennis was something I always wanted to try, so I did. Being athletic and working hard with a few coaches, I picked up the sport quickly.
You’re the Head Tennis Pro at Countryside Country Club, when did you start there and what do you do?
I started [working at Countryside Country Club] in 2000 as Pro Shop Manager/Assistant Tennis Professional. I had a wonderful mentor, Rick Workman, who taught me the ins and outs of the tennis industry. After gaining experience, I then became the Head Tennis Professional from 2011-2017. An offer came to me to take on a Director’s position at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa; I was interested as I saw it as an opportunity to grow a program from the ground up and oversee all the facets of the tennis program. The challenge was bringing a facility from nothing to growing it within a year of my start. I was there for three years before COVID hit in 2020. Said and done, I am back at Countryside Country Club as the Head Tennis Professional. My responsibilities are assisting my tennis director, Matt Bilger, with the day-to-day tasks and event planning. I teach tennis to all ages, levels and abilities, from private to group, beginner to advanced. I help with court maintenance when needed along with stringing racquets. I could not ask for anything better.
What is your ultimate ambition as a coach?
One of my goals is to run the top successful children’s program in my area – that encompasses my larger goal of role modeling life skills within the sport that will impact not only the children but the parents and adults as well. Providing a fun, safe atmosphere so they can experience a “sport for a lifetime”. However, my ultimate ambition would be to establish a non-profit tennis foundation that would provide scholarship opportunities for at-risk children to learn the sport and receive mentoring.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is watching the success of my students grow both on and off the court and building long-lasting friendships with the people I work with and teach.
It’s known there aren’t many women in positions of sports leadership across the country – why does that need to change?
Women have a great position of influence and I wish there were more of them combining their passion for the sport and making life impact to influence children and families. Our world needs more of that.
What do you think women bring to the tennis-teaching profession that makes them a valuable asset to tennis clubs/facilities?
Women talk! They share their love of the sport to others and ignite interest. We in the tennis profession could enhance the sport interest. Secondly, they love community and growing which again are valuable assets that pair up with the actual sport. It can be group or individual and competitive or friendly. Many women love to compete and are able to create programming to accommodate the needs of their members.
What do you think we as an industry can do to bring more women into those roles?
We as coaches need to be an example to the high school girls’ tennis team in the local area by offering intern mentorship programs to those who are interested in learning the trade.
Why are women the key to tennis growth and how do we reach them?
My thoughts are women are the primary community builders. They have the connections, desire, and love of the game to seek out the cause of any event you would be hosting. They do like to get out there and have fun and the sport is about enjoyment as well!
What advice would you give to other women who may be hesitant to take the leap to a higher-level position?
For me, it was my faith and believing in myself. My advice to others would be to follow your heart and dreams by believing in yourself and what you have to offer. Forget about the shoulda, coulda, and what-ifs – live your dream!
For more inspiring features on women in Florida tennis, click here, and be sure to follow @ustaflorida on social media throughout the month of March.