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Todd Nassief Honored by Northeastern Ohio Tennis Association as Volunteer of the Month

September 1, 2016 08:00 AM

Todd Nassief | Ashtabula, Ohio

Inclusive.  Easy.  Affordable.  Fun.  These are the words used to describe the Ashtabula County Tennis ladder run by Todd Nassief.  Todd grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio and started playing tennis on the courts at Kent State University at Ashtabula when he was in 7th grade.  Todd then went on to play tennis for Saint John High School and Elon University in Burlington, NC.  Todd currently owns a Honda dealership (Nassief Honda) and coaches both the boys and girls tennis teams at his alma mater, Saint John School.  Todd, along with his extended family, donated the six tennis courts to the school in 2014.

Todd’s first year coaching tennis at Saint John was in 2012, and one day at practice Todd asked them who played tennis over the summer – but no one of them raised a hand.  Todd wanted to help the kids play more tennis throughout the year, but was already busy with his car dealership, thus the summer Ashtabula County Tennis Ladder was born.  The kids could set up matches online and play tennis when it was convenient for them without needing direct supervision!

There were 168 singles matches played in each of the first two summers – which was amazing!  Then in 2014, doubles play was added to the ladder and specific tennis nights were designated for meeting at the courts.  Todd also set targets for the number of matches to be played – to encourage the kids to get out and hit the goals.  The number of matches played skyrocketed to 627 in 2014 and to 1,016 in 2015!  With the growth of the program came the need for additional divisions.  In 2016, the ‘Futures’ ladders were created for Junior High and beginner players so that they could have earlier successes.  Additionally, the program offers 3 compass-style tournaments each summer which help fund program amenities (pizza parties, etc.).

In a town not known for tennis, Ashtabula now has 223 kids and adults playing the lifetime sport.  The ladder is a competitive, yet fun, format based on ability so you can have any age (6 to 61 years old) or gender playing each other.  Players come from Erie PA, Canton, Warren and Columbus to participate.  No one is turned away, everyone is accepted!  Sportsmanship of players is excellent and attributed to cross-generational play.

The Ashtabula County Tennis ladder started out as a way to get the Saint John School team to play a little tennis in the summer, but has grown into an inclusive, cross-generational program of 223 players and over 1,000 matches during an 8-week period.  The result is great summer tennis with camaraderie and friendships that will last a lifetime. 

The Northeastern Ohio Tennis Association applauds Todd on his energy, enthusiasm and creativity in bringing the Ashtabula County Tennis ladder to his community!  More information about the Ashtabula County Tennis ladder is available by visiting its FaceBook page