STPC Club History

Click here for The Long History of The STPC.

For the short history, read on…

A Short History of the STPC

The organization came about in 1982 when Twin Cities businessman Jack Dow brought a small group of friends and tennis enthusiasts together to form a tennis club exclusively for their age group. This group established a not-for-profit organization with the name “Senior Tennis Players Club.”  STPC went on to organize doubles matches for themselves at the old Parade Stadium courts near downtown Minneapolis. Their numbers grew quickly as word spread.  Today membership exceeds 1100 members who participate regularly in events year-round at venues scattered throughout the Twin Cities metro area.

Jack Dow is credited not only with founding the STPC but also with its long-term success.  Somewhere along the way, Dow decided that novices should be admitted to this group of seasoned players and hired tennis pros including Percy Hughes and the late Ernie Greene, to provide them with beginner drills. Through the years Dow expanded club activities adding tennis camps, parties, drills, clinics and trips. Some of these trips went to Wimbledon, the French and U. S. Open while others were to Florida tennis resorts for member play.

Jack Dow passed away in 1996 at the age of 89.  Dow loved the game of tennis, and played five to seven times a week.  Dow was inducted into the Minnesota Tennis Hall of Fame, served as president of the Northwest Tennis Association, and, at his peak, was ranked No. 6 in Minnesota.  Following his death, STPC initiated a tournament in his name, which is held annually.  To further honor our founder, every year the Jack Dow traveling trophy is presented to a member whose attitude, character, sportsmanship, enthusiasm and service best typify the ideals of STPC.

While Dow has passed on, STPC is going strong today with drills, camps and trips as just a few of the opportunities for member participation.  Opportunities even include a program for members to teach tennis to inner city youngsters. The club is open to everyone with an interest in tennis age 50 and above.

Because the Senior Tennis Players Club is a nonprofit organization, members volunteer to undertake all of its activities. They serve as team captains, run events, clinics and tournaments and guide the club as members of the Board of Directors.  Members are encouraged to volunteer their time and talents.  STPC would not exist without volunteers.

The Longer Version: History of the Senior Tennis Players Club

By Carol Hall

The organization came about in 1982 when Twin Cities businessman Jack Dow brought a small group of senior tennis enthusiasts together to form a club exclusively for their age group. These 60-and 70-somethings incorporated under the name of Senior Tennis Players Club, and proceeded to organize doubles matches for themselves at the old Parade Stadium courts near downtown Minneapolis. Their numbers quickly swelled. Today, the STPC membership exceeds 1500 members, aged 50 to 80-plus, who participate regularly in organized leagues, playing year-round at outdoor courts during the summer and racquet clubs in the winter. Their playing venues are scattered throughout the greater Twin Cities area.

Jack Dow is credited not only with founding the STPC, but also with its long-term success. An entrepreneur and go-getter who thrived on tennis, Dow, of Edina, was inducted into the Minnesota Tennis Hall of Fame, served as president of the Northwest Tennis Association, and, at his peak, was ranked No. 6 in Minnesota. He initially got the club off the ground by snagging members from among his tennis-playing friends, even giving out some free memberships to increase the numbers. Somewhere along the way, Dow decided that novices should be admitted to this group of seasoned players and hired senior tennis pros, including Percy Hughes, Virginia Morgan and the late Ernie Greene, to provide them with beginner lessons.

Through the years Dow expanded club activities. Senior tennis camps, parties, drills, clinics and trips were added to the established leagues. Some of these trips saw Dow leading groups to Wimbledon, French Open, and U. S. Open, others to a Florida tennis resort where they played tennis daily.
Jack Dow died in 1996. The club thereafter initiated a tournament in his name, which is held annually. The programs and lessons that Dow began are going strong still today. A program for members to teach tennis to inner city youngsters was added to the list, as was a yearly grandparent-grandchild competition.

Each year the Jack Dow traveling trophy is presented to a member whose attitude, character, sportsmanship, enthusiasm and service best typify the organization. Long-time member Mary Kaminski of Saint Anthony, who serves on the STPC Board of Directors, was the 1998 trophy winner. Kaminski says of the STPC: “It does much more for seniors than offer tennis. The club creates the opportunity for new friendships; I’ve made so many good friends through Senior Tennis. Why, many members who’ve met on the courts have even found romance, and we’ve had a number of marriages.”

Promoting the sport he so loved for the enjoyment and social opportunities it offers seniors was important to Dow, but more important was its benefit of improved physical health, of which he was keenly aware. Jack Dow played tennis five to seven times a week, continuing well into his eighties, and he lived to be 89.

Because the Senior Tennis Players Club is a nonprofit organization, members volunteer to handle all of its activities. They also serve as team captains for leagues. The STPC Board of Directors elects board members for three-year terms; board officers serve one-year terms. Members are encouraged to volunteer for activities and board positions, and to captain league teams.