Joe Noth is the Director of Tennis at the Lisa + Douglas Goldman Tennis Center in Golden Gate Park. Previously he held that position for a decade at Lifetime Activities’ facility in Walnut Creek. Joe’s enthusiasm and positive coaching style has helped thousands of players reach their goals and enjoy the sports of tennis and pickleball. He holds elite and professional level tennis certifications with both USPTA and USPTR. He recently added pickleball USPPR certification to that list.
1.What role has tennis played in your life?
I didn’t start playing tennis until I was 12 years old, which is late considering we teach 4, 5, & 6-year-olds. I attribute all of my tennis footwork to the years I played youth soccer. When I made the jump to tennis, I started out with a friend by joining a local summer camp. It then became my regular sport with clinics two days a week. By the time I was 13 I added private lessons on the weekends when I wasn’t playing tournaments.
I played all four years in high school, setting a total win record in school history, helped rank my team in the city for the first time in years and was All-GCL (Greater Catholic League). After high school, I played Division 3 tennis for Methodist College in North Carolina. We brought home the USA South Conference championship the first year and I was voted All Conference.
I began coaching tennis once I was able to drive. Brian Peters, the man that taught me everything I know, gave me my first assistant coaching job in Cincinnati, Ohio. By the time I was 20 I had been selected as Head Professional of a little tennis club in Virginia called Culpeper Sport & Racquet Club. Four and a half years later Lifetime Activities CEO Dana Gill gave me a chance to put my hard work to the test as Director of Tennis & Activities in Walnut Creek. So, at 25 years old I packed my bags and moved 2500 miles across the U.S. to California, which I have been loving every minute of!
As you can see tennis is a huge part of my life. I get to meet the most interesting people from all over the world. Oftentimes I’m the only person on the court who speaks English as their first language. This becomes great fun to learn about new places I’ve never been and I enjoy when the children teach me words and phrases in their languages.
2.What is involved in the job of Tennis Director of a municipal tennis center?
My main role is to help facilitate positive, safe, and fun learning experiences for any and all players. This includes hiring a qualified team of individuals to help run the tennis and pickleball programs. I will give anyone a shot at a chance on my team; we are always looking for qualified, energetic, confident, and friendly coaches who love working with kids and adults. I always prefer to hire local, and it makes me feel good to provide jobs for local individuals looking to start or further their tennis teaching career.
It’s also important for us to continue to add and subtract classes and lessons from our programs to meet the needs of the community. General Manager Isabella Feinberg is a great organizer and together we try and look for new ways to promote the game of tennis and pickleball as both have shown massive growth in 2020. Day to day at the Goldman Tennis Center has been busy, fun, and there’s always something new around the corner. I like to say Isabella does all the hard work and I get to have all the fun, but I try to do it all from teaching lessons, answering phones, stringing racquets, helping players figure out what racquet/paddle they need, assisting patrons to find the right class, interviewing and scheduling coaches, rolling or squeegeeing courts, organizing round robins and events, and on occasion shagging the balls that fly over the fence.
3.What are some of the things about the Goldman Tennis Center facility that most excite you?
The GTC facility is top notch! I’ve had the pleasure of playing and coaching in private and public tennis facilities around the country. Very few of them have the long history and nostalgia that GTC brings to the community. The courts my high school played on in Ohio had every light shot out, cracks all over and it looked like a gopher ran under the first court.
I am honored and extremely privileged to be a part of this facility and look forward to continuing to uphold the high standards players will be accustomed to when they walk in for the first time. This facility is something special and my team will represent that.
4.How does it feel to be working in such a vibrant place like Golden Gate Park?
Not many people are lucky enough to spend six days a week in their local park. I am! I don’t have an extensive knowledge of Golden Gate Park but I have branched out more and more and I’m amazed at how I always find something new. When tennis balls go over the fence most park visitors willingly throw them back, which actually says a lot about the individuals who visit GGP. There’s always something here that makes me smile, from the many four-legged animal visitors to unique electric bikes, boards and scooters.
5.When you are not at the tennis center, how do you like to spend your time?
When not on court here at GTC I usually spend my off day on the golf course in the East Bay, or when the weather cooperates, I’m in my backyard vegetable garden with my dog. I’m a huge fan of live music, comedy shows, and sporting events, and I can’t wait until we can attend them on a regular basis again.