Overland Park & Leawood

Overland Park executive search firm finds new niche in tennis

Steve Snodgrass of Snodgrass partners has an extensive background in tennis.
Steve Snodgrass of Snodgrass partners has an extensive background in tennis. Courtesy of Snodgrass Partners

An Overland Park executive employment search and consulting firm is hoping to take a slice of business out of the world of tennis.

Snodgrass Partners has expanded into the sports world with a new tennis employment division that matches NCAA Division I programs with coaches and racquet clubs and resorts with pros and high-level administrators. It will also offer consulting on facilities, fundraising and player programs.

“Our research tells us that there’s lots of poster boards announcing job openings, but that’s not recruiting,” said Steve Snodgrass, president and founder of the firm at 13220 Metcalf Ave. “This is professional recruiting, where schools and clubs want to vet out the very best coaches and people for their hiring. Just like we do in the business world, we’re going to apply it to tennis.”

Snodgrass, who founded his firm in 2001, certainly has the tennis background to start this venture.

He played at Kansas State University in the late 1960s and coached both the men’s and women’s programs at his alma mater in the ’70s and early ’80s. During his time in Manhattan, Snodgrass left his job in the business world and built a racquet club that he owned, managed and served as the head pro.

Eventually Snodgrass left Manhattan and entered the job search and consulting business, but a 2013 trip back to K-State ignited the thought process to get re-engaged with the tennis world.

While attending the dedication of the school's tennis facility — named for one of his former players—– Snodgrass was reacquainted with many of his players, and that eventually led to being involved in the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Todd Martin, a two-time Grand Slam finalist and the current chief executive of the hall of fame, tabbed Snodgrass and his firm to hire its new chief operating officer.

“I got hired for that because of my tennis background and my background in business,” Snodgrass said. “It dawned on me, I have a network of universities, clubs, and resorts, so we decided to take our business and expertise and go into tennis.”

Christa Townsend is also involved in the tennis practice. A former college and professional tennis player, Townsend has more than 25 years of experience in mergers, promotions, business development and product launches.

While the tennis search and consulting division may not be the only one of its kind, Snodgrass believes it’s certainly a rarity. And despite it just being launched this month, it’s already off and running.

“We’re already in touch with numerous universities, and I’ve received resumes with people who are interested in jobs,” Snodgrass said. “We’ve already matched a New York club with a California candidate... I was 28 when I built the racquet club, and I’ll be 68 next month, but I’m as excited about this as I was when I built the club.”

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