John Wheaton, Executive Director
"I like that our work is making a significant impact in our community. On a daily basis, I see the tangible results of the work we are doing in shaping young people on and off the court."
John Wheaton joined InnerCity Tennis in 2014 as Associate Director, serving mainly as the director of facilities and tennis programming at the tennis center. In 2015, he took over as Executive Director, overseeing all business operations and programming for ICT.
John began his professional career as an Account Executive in the Tennis Division of International Management Group (IMG), where he coached and managed pro tennis players and directed professional tennis events. While at IMG, John also served as Associate Director of the world-renowned IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where he worked closely with its founder and ICT Board member, Nick Bollettieri.
John formerly owned and directed the Wheaton Tennis Academy, taught as a Professor of Humanities at Crown College, and worked as an independent academic consultant. He earned a BA from the University of Minnesota, where he played on the men's varsity tennis team, and a JD from the Pepperdine University School of Law. He also serves as Director of Tennis at Wayzata Country Club. John lives in Deephaven with his wife and four children.
Ann Wordelman, Associate Director
“I am excited about the opportunity to advance ICT’s mission of developing and unleashing the potential of youth by connecting with our generous and supportive donor community. Helping underserved youth and providing financial assistance to those in need is a passion of mine, and I am looking forward to meeting both current and new donors who share our commitment to youth.”
Ann comes to ICT with a successful background in non-profit volunteer development and corporate marketing. Her passion for education has led her to volunteer leadership roles with the Yale Alumni Fund and Harvard Business School campaigns, as well as the Edina Education Fund, where she was Co-Chair of the Board. She has also served as a Board member for the Yale Alumni Association of the Northwest. Professionally, Ann was employed most recently as an Associate Director in the Carlson Brand Enterprise at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, where she worked on projects for both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Previously, Ann held marketing roles at General Mills, Medtronic Diabetes, and 3M.
Ann received her BA from Yale University, where she served as a tutor with the Youth Together mentoring program and earned her MBA from Harvard Business School. Ann lives in Edina with her husband and two children. She developed her love of tennis while living in Southern California as a young mother of two, and continues to enjoy playing doubles.
Laura Meyer, Database Administrator & Junior Program Coordinator
"Four years ago I fell in love with tennis, two years later I started working here. I love the environment here; it's a place people can escape from the stress of the 'real world' and just have fun playing tennis."
Laura is our data diva and behind the scenes champion. She supports our vast need for responsive and orderly data. When not working at the front desk or in the back office, she can be seen hitting some powerful overheads in our Women's Daytime League!
Law Thao, Marketing & Communications Manager
Law comes to us from Hamline University where he majored in Digital Media Arts and minored in Nonprofit Management. He will be managing all internal and external communications for the tennis center, outreach programming and advancement. Perhaps most exciting is Law’s desire to help us share our work and stories of success with one another through “stories of impact.
Community Outreach Team
Bao Thao, Senior Manager, Community Outreach Programs
Bao joined ICT's staff in 2017. She is in charge of deepening relationships with our existing partners and seeking out new, collaborative relationships with organizations and institutions who share our vision, mission, and values. Bao's two daughters, Pemo and Wangmo, both play tennis in ICT's Cities Academy program.
Dilcia Pederson, Outreach Programs Manager - USPTA Certified
"I like working for ICT and Reed Sweatt because I get to teach children a sport that they can play for the rest of their lives."
In addition to conducting youth programs each day, Dilcia coordinates scheduling with all of ICT’s Community Outreach programs, registration of our Super Saturday program and the hiring of our Summer Tennis in the Parks instructors each year.
Dilcia, a Minneapolils South High School graduate, began playing tennis in ICT’s Summer Tennis in the Parks Program in the 1990s. “Dil” is now an Elite USPTA pro (ten years plus) and regional tester for aspiring pros. In the fall of 2014, Dil coached the Washburn High School JV Girls team.
Laura Myers, Education Coordinator, MN Teaching License: 5-12 Social Studies
“I appreciate that ICT combines tennis and education to show the importance of social, intellectual, and physical well-being. It is rewarding to motivate kids in learning more about the world around them.”
Laura Myers began working at InnerCity Tennis in June 2016 as the Education Coordinator. Laura’s role is to plan and deliver lessons and activities for ACE and Topspin. She strives to create a sense of empowerment and creativeness for the students in a safe learning environment. Her tennis experience involves informal matches as a kid with her family and she is excited for the opportunity to grow her tennis skills even more at ICT. Laura graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and History.
Customer Experience Team
Janet Czaia, Customer Service Manager
Tina Haapala, Operations Manager
"I've worked here almost 18 years and am still only the 3rd most senior member of the staff! Ironically, I still do not play tennis!"
Tina is the “glue” that holds the entire facility and its operations together. Not only does she know your registration number the moment she hears your voice on the phone, she is on top of every detail of your Reed Sweatt experience.
Mary Baker, Women’s Daytime League Coordinator
"My favorite thing about Reed Sweatt is that it continues to be open to the public. Its rich history for me reaches back to 1952, my very first tournament. I love the mix of customers and being able to serve them!"
Mary Baker's experience with Reed Sweatt and formerly Nicollet Tennis Center spans five decades. She is a championship player, a keeper of the human history of this organization and a consummate professional manager of our Women's Daytime League.
John Ribnick, Permanent Court Time Coordinator
"Working here has helped my world view. I have witnessed parts of hundreds of matches and almost all players are scrupulously fair, and in the vast majority of cases, give their opponents the benefit of the doubt, frequently calling shots in which are an inch of two out. Seeing this and looking beyond it to most people in general; they do try to be decent and fair minded, and the news we are bombarded with about bad people clouds our vision of people's 24/7 efforts to do the right thing."
John has worked at Nicollet Tennis / Reed Sweatt for 35 years and coached at Southwest High School for 10 years along the way.
Gayle Groebner, Front Desk Staff
"Working at Reed Sweatt has been a very rich experience for me. I’ve enjoyed meeting our customers from all walks of life and being part of the family atmosphere we create."
Gayle has over 20 years of experience at the front desk. She is a self taught tennis player that learned to play as a teenager when her small farming community built a singles court near her school. Gayle helps coordinate our Friday night Mixed Doubles leagues.
Kristen Lexcen, Front Desk Staff
"I really enjoy the people at InnerCity Tennis. Tennis truly is a lifelong sport and it's really neat to see so many people enjoying it at all ages."
Kristen graduated from Bemidji State University with a degree in Physical Education, Developmentally Adapted Physical Education and Coaching. She has spent the past 6 years teaching and has had the pleasure of coaching numerous sports at the middle, high school and college level.
Andrew Siegfried, Front Desk Staff
“I learned to play tennis at Reed Sweatt. In fact, my whole family has played here over the years! It’s neat to be able to now work with some of the same people who taught me how to love the game of tennis!”
Andrew learned how to play tennis through attending Saturday and after school programs at Reed Sweatt. He played high school tennis at Minneapolis Southwest all four years, 3 years on varsity and was Captain his senior year. Andrew was a Summer Tennis in the Parks Instructor for InnerCity Tennis who is currently a sophomore in college studying Computer Science.
Anthony Siegfried, Front Desk Staff
"I grew up playing tennis at ICT, and now its fun to be able to help others learn to love the game!"
Anthony learned how to play tennis at Reed Sweatt by participating in the Saturday and after school programs. Currently a senior at Southwest High School in Minneapolis, Anthony has played tennis on the boys team since 9th grade, and as a varsity player the last two years. He is looking forward to his senior season on the courts in the spring of 2016.
Anthony has been a Summer Tennis in the Parks Instructor for ICT and also an Instructor for the Minneapolis Park/Rec summer kids programs. He looks forward to starting college in the fall of 2016.
Program Delivery Team
Kathy Alex, PTR Certified Teaching Professional, Head Coach 12U Programs
I am so excited to be working at InnerCity Tennis. The mission to give back to the community and to give kids a chance no matter what their economic or social position, is what I’m all about!
Kathy has decades of experience coaching junior and college tennis, and enjoyed an illustrious playing career, competing for the UCLA Bruins and playing on the pro tour.
Aly Samabaly, High Performance Program Manager & Head Pro Trainer
Our new Head Pro Fitness Trainer, Aly Samabaly, holds National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and American Muscle and Fitness Personal Training (AMFT) certifications. He has been deeply involved with sports since growing up in Mali.
Upon his arrival in America, he attended St. Vincent St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, where he and teammate LeBron James took their team to Ohio State High School Basketball Championship titles in 2000 & 2001. He went on to become a D1 basketball standout in the Atlantic Conference.
Aly has combined his competitive experience with his in-depth fitness knowledge to create a coaching program that provides athletes with a solid foundation of strength, flexibility and conditioning. Cities Academy players will benefit from his passion and intuitive ability to adapt training to individual needs.
Kyle Buchmeier, USPTA Certified Teaching Professional, Women's Daytime League Coordinator
“The atmosphere at InnerCity Tennis is great and the people I get to coach are a lot of fun. I enjoy working with players in such a friendly, welcoming space."
Kyle has worked at ICT since 2011. He helps coordinate ICT's Women's Daytime League and coaches many adult and junior programs. He formerly served as Head Coach at Woodbury and Winona Cotter High Schools and captained the Winona State Men’s Tennis Team for three years.
Callee Anderson, USPTA & PTR Certified Teaching Professional
"I love the family focus here! I grew up in a tennis family, so this organization has been a natural fit for me. Young children, youth, adults and seniors - we do it all here!"
Callee has coached at ICT since 2011 after working at Longview Tennis Club in Duluth and at three Park and Rec programs. She played #1 singles and served as captain for both Hibbing High School and St. Scholastica College.
Dylan Kelly, USPTA Certified Teaching Professional
"Growing up through InnerCity tennis and seeing how it serves the community and the individuals of all abilities is amazing!"
Dylan Kelly became a full time staff at InnerCity Tennis in 2015, working park time at the tennis desk and part time as a coach in the Cities Academy program. He started at ICT as a junior coach in the Summer Tennis in the Parks program in 2008 and was promoted to a coordinator position in the summer 2013. Dylan has had an extensive background in tournament play and played four years Division 3 tennis at the College of St. Scholastica. He has coached Southwest Activities Council (SWAC) Minneapolis park and recreation tennis program for seven years and two years at Benilde St. Margaret's High School as the girls JV coach. He's a USPTA certified professional and enjoys working with individuals of all abilities.
Wessel Kemp, USPTA Certified Teaching Professional
"It was the spirit behind ICT that attracted me, the heart of the employees and staff, combined with the dreams of those that come to play the game."
Wessel grew up in South Africa and played Division I tennis at Oral Roberts University. He has served as a High Performance coach at ICT since 2013 working with some of the top players in our program.
Bill Stark, USPTA Certified Teaching Professional, Adult Coordinator
"I truly love tennis. I love coaching and teaching the game and the challenge of become a better coach and player."
Bill has taught at Reed Sweatt since 2011, which follows more than 30 years of coaching experience, including 17 years at Lifetime Fitness Bloomington and Lakeville. He is a certified USTA umpire and has served as the Head Boys Tennis Coach at Lakeville North High School since 2005.
Luke Robertson, USPTA & PTR Certified Teaching Professional
"I love the people at ICT. Everyone is so kind, and it's like a big family. I especially like teaching here and seeing people improve and enjoying the sport I love."
Luke started working at ICT in 2016. He comes from a tennis playing family and played high school varsity tennis at Bloomington Jefferson for 6 years. Luke played college tennis at Seward County Community College in Kansas and Tima Community College in Arizona. He has taught tennis at Edina Country Club since 2015 and will receive his USPTA certification in March. He stills enjoys playing USTA tournament and league tennis. He is the only one on staff to own a gold ball by winning the National grandfather and grandson tournament in 2011.
Nicolas Russillon, Swiss PTA & STF Certified Teaching Professional
Nicolas grew up as the son of a tennis club owner in Switzerland and learned to play and coach at an early age. He holds a degree in Sports Sciences at Lausanne University and is driven to help young players develop excellent skills and a passion for the game.
Frank Smith , PTR Certified Teaching Professional
Ahmed Atayev , USPTA & PTR Certified Teaching Professional
Dan Wheaton, USPTA & PTR Certified Teaching Professional
Dan has been a tennis coach at Wayzata Country Club for 6 years and began working at ICT in 2015. At Minnetonka High School he was a 5 year letter winner and an intergral part of their 2016 MN State High School Team Championship. He currently serves as the Minnetonka Boy’s B-Team coach.
Maksim Yorsh, Performance Coach
Maksim Yorsh is a certified United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) coach who received his BS in Business Administration at Kennesaw State/Reinhardt University. Maks represented the university’s NCAA/NAIA teams for 4 years and received several awards, including: All-American, All-Conference, Dean’s List, President’s list, All-Academic Team, and Top Male Athlete of the Year for all athletes at the University.
Maks formerly coached for the Kemp Performance Tennis Academy in Atlanta where he participated in full-cycle development of junior players competing at the national and international levels. He also coached a highly successful 10U Red Ball program. Following his work in Georgia, Maks was recruited to develop and coach over 70 junior players as Head Tennis Pro at Pebble Creek Country Club in College Station, Texas.
His 18+ years of playing and coaching will be an invaluable addition to our nationally recognized Cities Academy programs.
Ben Wheaton, Performance Coach
Ben has taught at ICT since 2016, and his primary focus is working with players that compete at the high sectional and national levels. He enjoyed six years of playing varsity tennis at Minnetonka High School, including leading his team to back-to-back state titles at #1 singles in 2015 and 2016. He was also a state doubles finalist in 2017. He maintained a top 10 sectional singles ranking throughout his junior career, at times reaching #1, and he competed at the USTA National Clay Court and National Hard Court Championships several times. Ben especially enjoys working with his players to prepare for national competition.
Mason Bultje, Junior Development Coach
Mason Bultje grew up in Mankato, Minnesota, where he played high school tennis, reaching the quarterfinals of the Minnesota State Boys' Singles Championships his senior year. He played college tennis at Gustavus Adolphus College, where he earned a degree in Exercise Physiology and All-Conference honors in singles and doubles his senior year. Mason has taught tennis for many years, four of them during the summer at Tennis and Life Camps in St. Peter, where he developed a passion for working with underprivileged youth and players of all abilities.