Houston City Club
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Greg Vinbladh - Director of Tennis & Head Tennis Professional
Greg opened The Houston City Club in 1979. Prior to that, he was the Head Pro at The Houston Metropolitan Racquet Club. He is native to San Diego, California, where he was a collegiate All-American. Greg was also a member of the Southern Illinois Tennis Team while ranked #12 nationally. As a former Tour player, Greg worked with players of all levels: beginning to touring professionals that have been ranked on the world's top 100 list. For 28 years, he owned and operated one of the most successful retail tennis stores in the country. Greg is currently on Head Sporting Goods and Nike's National Advisory Test Marketing Board. Many of Greg's students have become tennis directors and teaching professionals at national and local levels.
He is ClubCorp Star Certified up to Level 5 (highest level), USPTR Certified and CPR Certified. He received ClubCorp's Super Star award in 2005. He received the award again in 2012 and was nominated for the Super Star Team award for the tennis department. Awarded ClubCorp's "2013 All-Star" Award.
Bob Lahti - Programs Coordinator
In 1999, Bob was recognized by ClubCorp at the National Athletic and Tennis Conference with the Tennis Star Performer award. He has been on staff at HCC since 1996 as Tennis Program Coordinator. He also was employed at the Metropolitan Business and Sports Club from 1995 to 1996. Other assignments included activities director and manager of Houston Indoor Tennis Club, activities coordinator of Wimbledon Racquet Club and Olde Oaks Racquet Club.
Bob was recognized by the Texas Tennis Association as Umpire of the Year in 1992. He has been a tennis official and tournament director since 1985 and was president of the Houston Tennis Umpires Association during 1991-1992, and he still holds an active membership. He is also certified by the United States Racquet Stringing Association.
In 1992, Bob was one of 12 officials invited to the Davis Cup Finals in Fort Worth. From 1987 to 1999, he served as an official at the US OPEN Championships in Flushing Meadows. He is ClubCorp Star Certified up to level 4 and CPR Certified.
Zezé de Moura - Tennis Professional & Head of Player Development
Originally from Brazil, Zeze played the juniors in his home country until he was 18. He moved to the United States in 1981. In 1982 and 1983, he attended Indian River Community College on a full tennis scholarship, where he won the Conference Tournament and reached the semifinals in the State Tournament. He played the Satellite Circuit in 1984 and 1985. As Head of Player Development here at the Houston City Club, Zeze has grown the junior program from about 60 kids to 422 kids during the 2012 Summer Academy, a record number. In 2011, he received the Super Star award from ClubCorp. He has been a USPTA Certified professional for the past 20 years and has been a City Club professional for the past 12 years.
Chris Jackson - Tennis Professional
Born on the island of Trinidad, Chris has been a resident of Houston for the past 22 years, 15 of which (1985 – 2000) were spent at the Houston Metropolitan Racquet Club as a member of the tennis staff. As the Houston "Project Coordinator" for the USTA, Chris recently hosted a very successful Welcome Back to Tennis Party for players 50+ to encourage them to return to the game. Chris is looking forward to hosting several USTA tennis projects as well as junior events in the very near future.
Greg Davis - Tennis Professional
Greg was the Men's Head Tennis Coach at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas for three years. During his time, the school recorded its first winning season in 25 years. He came to Lamar from The University of Louisville, where he was the Head Women's Tennis Coach for five years. During his five-year tenure, the Cardinals were ranked among the top 50 in the country and enjoyed the most successful five-year period in program history, accumulating 99 wins. He came to Louisville from Auburn Montgomery University, where he was the Men's and Women's Head Coach for three years. During his stay, he won three national team titles and was presented with four National Coach of the Year awards.
Greg has also been a Men's Assistant Coach at Rice, Wake Forest and Northwestern University. He has a Professional 1 rating from the USPTA.
Linda Rupert Thomas – Tennis Professional
Linda is a native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and started playing tennis at age 4 years old. At age 11, she was put in Sports Illustrated Magazine “Faces of the Crowd” for winning her City 12, 14, 16, 18 and under and Women’s Singles Championships as a person of interest. She attended Lamar University where she and her partner, Cathy Beene, won the National Collegiate Doubles Championships and her last two years she was awarded Sportsmanship of the Year Award. She received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Lamar University in 1973. She was chosen to be on the Junior Wightman Cup Squad to represent the USA contributing a singles match win to defeat Canada. She worked a couple of summers for Harry Hopman and Nick Bollettieri with their All-American Sports Tennis Camp Academy. She went on the Women’s Pro Tour Tennis Circuit and received a career high ranking of “76” in the 1978 Women’s World computerized rankings with a highlight of getting to 3rd round at Wimbledon. She was Lamar University Head Women’s Tennis Coach for two years. Here in Houston, Texas her first coaching job was at Chancellors Racquet Club since then she has been a Tennis Professional, Head Tennis Pro and Director of Tennis at Fondren Tennis Club, University Club and the Jewish Community Center.
She is a lifetime member of the USTA and HTA, USPTA Pro 1 certified, Co-founder of Houston Wheelchair Tennis Foundation, USRSA Stringer Association 25 year member, served on the HTA Tennis Board and received ClubCorp Silver Club Team Award while serving at University Club. In November 2015, Linda has been inducted into The Texas Tennis Hall of Fame.
Paul Blankenship - Tennis Professional
Paul held the position as Head Women's Tennis Coach at Rice University from 1981 to 2001 and holds the record for the most wins of any tennis coach (men or women) in Rice tennis history. In 1994, he was honored with Southwest Conference and ITA Southwest Regional Coach of the Year. Paul was also Assistant Tennis Coach at TCU (men and women) from 1980 to 1981. He has over 23 years’ experience as a collegiate coach and private instructor. He has a Professional 1 rating as a member of the USPTA. Paul holds a B.A. from Texas Christian University and an M.Ed. from the University of Houston. He is ClubCorp Star Certified up to Level 1.