Missouri Valley / Nebraska

Ernest Grundy Tennis Center Enjoys Successful Inaugural Year

Andrea Gallagher | January 27, 2023

The Ernest Grundy Tennis Center opened up last spring in Kearney. The 62,500 square foot facility was a team effort between the City of Kearney, the Kearney Tennis Association and the University of Nebraska at Kearney. It was recently recognized by Racquet Sports Industry as the “College Facility of the Year” in its Champions of Tennis edition. Three of the people who were key members of getting the tennis center off the ground share their thoughts: Matt Morrow, Tennis Center Manager; John Rademacher, Kearney Tennis Association; Scott Hayden, Director of Recreation Services for Kearney.


Q: What are your thoughts on the facility getting national attention?


Matt:  I think the attention is exciting for Midwest and rural tennis! Kearney is definitely a hub for central Nebraska sports and events, and adding the tennis center is a huge boon to the sport with helping grow tennis in rural communities.


John:  A lot of time and study was put into the design of the facility to best serve the needs of the tennis community in Kearney. That the facility is receiving national attention reflects the commitment of the planners and designers in understanding and meeting the needs of the tennis community which serves as a model for other community facilities nationally.

Q: What are you most proud of with this facility and how it came together?


Matt:  I am still astonished to think back on how many entities worked together to make this facility a reality, and how they continue to cooperate in such an ideal way.  The fact that the University, the City of Kearney, and the Kearney Tennis Association all have stock in the facility AND are all working towards the same goal is amazing!


Scott:  Kearney has always been a very active tennis community with some of the best outdoor courts in the state along with some great programs.  Now, with the addition of an amazing indoor facility, we will be able to take the great sport of tennis to another level in this area. Even with these partnerships, the facility would not have been possible without a very generous anonymous donor. 

Q: How would you advise other tennis communities looking to accomplish something similar?


Matt:  If you look at Kearney tennis, its success comes from putting the growth and success of the sport first. Kearney’s population isn’t big enough to create much competition for revenue, but all parties involved actively work towards supporting each other’s endeavors.  This allows for enthusiasm and resources to be shared, letting the players get to be the ones that are rewarded.  Growth and progress come so easily after that. 


John:  Collaborate with as many entities as possible to build and share a facility. A tennis community can accomplish a great deal more with various invested partners.


Scott:  Build your tennis programs. In our community these programs are offered through the City of Kearney, the Kearney Tennis Association, and the University of Nebraska-Kearney.   Our Kearney Tennis Association was established in the 70’s, and Ernest Grundy was the first president.  From that point on, the attraction to tennis has been growing in Kearney.  Finally, I would encourage communities to become members and utilize the resources available through the USTA.


Q: Any more goals for Kearney tennis? Either with this facility or something else?


Matt:  It’s great to have goals, but it’s also very important to stay with our core idea, keeping the facility community focused and with the intent on being a service to the community.  That being said, it would be amazing to be able to expand organized tennis in central Nebraska so that we can continue to enable the growth of the sport.   


John:  A goal of the Kearney Tennis Association would be to build six outdoor courts next to the facility in the near future.



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