Ryan Reeves has fulfilled a longtime desire to live and work in the Chattanooga area.
Reeves, 28, is the new tennis professional at the Racquet Club. He replaces Kevin Donovan, who moved to Manker Patten after eight years at the Hixson facility but was an area contact for Reeves and let him know the Racquet Club job was open.
Reeves and his wife grew up in the Gadsden, Ala., area and often visited Chattanooga before moving in early 2010 to Sarasota, Fla., where he taught privately at several clubs and continued his sports training business.
He and Kira have two daughters: Kelsi, 6, and Kadence, 3.
"We've wanted to move here since Kelsi was born," Reeves said Wednesday. "We often talked about it. But I got a good opportunity in Sarasota. That was a tough place to leave, but we wanted to get back close to our families, and Chattanooga was where we wanted to be."
Reeves got into sports training after knee surgeries derailed his potential tennis career at Alabama. He could've played soccer or been a football kicker out of Southside High School but played tennis at Gadsden State Community College.
He said he will continue to incorporate sports training into his lessons.
"You see a big difference in kids or adults who just play tennis and those who can do a little more," said Reeves, who admitted a special interest in inspiring young players.
"We have a lot of members here and a lot of play, but I would like to see more kids," he said. "I teach and train everybody, but we're going through a big down time now in American tennis and I want to see kids get started in the sport early. Some of them may want to stay with it and want to excel in it."
Co-owner and general manager Leland Goldston said Reeves was hired for "his personality and his interest in kids" as well as his tennis background.
"He's family oriented and just a real nice person," Goldston said. "We miss Kevin being here -- he's an exceptional person -- but we wish him well. And Ryan's personality is sort of like his."
The staff also includes Elizabeth Bohac, Chad Winters, Heather Elsea and Raoul Ferdinand.
Goldston said the club plans "about a $300,000 upgrade" by March, including redoing the inside courts.