Mountain Park thrives under staff's long-term leadership

by: Vern Uyetake, When it comes to stability, few racquet clubs can compete with the staff at Mountain Park Racquet Club in Lake Oswego. The club’s senior staff members include Mike Kanapeaux, far left, Roger McKee, center, and Michael Pazourek, right. Below, Linnea Haas, a freshman at Lakeridge, gets some one-on-one instruction from McKee.

Members of Lake Oswego's Mountain Park Racquet Club know what to expect when they reserve a court. That's because tennis director Roger McKee and tennis professionals Mike Kanapeaux and Michael Pazourek have been running a tight ship for more than 17 years.

That type of consistency at a tennis club is extremely rare and it is one of the reasons why Mountain Park is thriving.

'Every time there's a change (at a club) you always take a step back so I think the consistency helps give our members a good experience,' McKee said.

For the first time since McKee took over as tennis director there is now a short waiting list for membership, which is a sign of a successful club.

Back in 1989, the staff at Mountain Park departed all at once, leaving a large void which needed to be filled quickly. In May, McKee was hired on and he promptly brought on Kanapeaux and Pazourek, two talented players to be two of his professionals.

'There was kind of a blank slate and I had the opportunity to conduct interviews and hire two pros within about a month,' McKee said.

At that time, McKee had just finished winning the USTA 35 and over national championship in singles (hardcourt) and doubles (grasscourt) in 1988. He grew up in Oregon, playing high school tennis at Roseburg and then went on to Oregon State University and became the winningest player in the program's history.

Later he would earn the distinction of being named one of the university's top 100 athletes of the 20th century.

Having professionals on staff with experience at multiple levels of competitive tennis has always been one of Mountain Park's top priorities and when it came time for McKee to hire staff members shortly after taking over as director, he was lucky enough to nab two individuals who fit the bill.

'Part of our appeal is that we don't have just top-notch players. We can relate to someone no matter what level they're at,' McKee said.

Kanapeaux grew up in Santa Barbara, Calif. and, in his time competing regionally in the boys 10's through 16's, he was ranked as high as 19th at one point. He also played collegiate tennis at St. Mary's College.

Pazourek was also a talented youth player while growing up in Tacoma, Wash. As one point he was ranked fourth in the nation in the boys 16 and under category. He turned professional at the age of 18 and was ranked among the top 500 in the world in both singles and doubles before becoming a tennis pro for clubs in Wyoming and Washington.

McKee believes that this amount of experience, combined with the fact that the three men all get along well, has contributed greatly to Mountain Park's success.

'We're all committed to the day to day success of the club. There aren't egos that get in the way and we all trust each other,' McKee said.

McKee, Kanapeaux and Pazourek, along with fellow tennis pro's Lindsay Bennett and Sarah Dix, all have the capability of helping the youngest and most novice player to others who are extremely advanced.

A number of the club's charter members from when Mountain Park opened 33 years ago still play regularly and the pro's have enjoyed watching families come through the club.

'Along with running and coordinating tournaments, teaching makes up the bulk of what we do and there's a good mix. I have players ranging from five years old to 83 right now,' Pazourek said.

All three men currently live in Lake Oswego and enjoy the tight-knit community in the city and in the club especially.

'We've all had kids in the school system and we just like being here. It's a good place to be,' Kanapeaux said.

Over the past decade and a half, the club has seen a number of extraordinarily talented players pass through. Mountain Park attracts players from a number of surrounding cities and has contributed greatly to the success of not just Lake Oswego and Lakeridge's high school programs but also the programs at West Linn, Tigard and Tualatin.

A number of these players participate in the tournaments that Mountain Park offers during the year and some go on to play in college as well.

'I think (in the past few years) the depth of talent at the high school level has gotten better,' Kanapeaux said.

Although McKee, Kanapeaux and Pazourek have helped Mountain Park make great strides over the years, all three admit that their success would not be possible without the support from the members.

'The membership here is fantastic. They are incredibly supportive and that's what makes our jobs so much fun,' McKee said.

Mountain Park Racquet Club is located at 3 Botticelli St. in Lake Oswego. To contact the club, call 503-635-3776.