Wally Bronson Retires After 52 Years

Wally Bronson Tennis Pro

After a long and successful tennis career, Wally Bronson, Tennis Director at Elite-River Glen, has decided to retire. Read about how he got started in tennis, his favorite moments at Elite, and what he plans on doing next.

Wally’s Tennis Career

As a child, Wally actually first played baseball from ages 8-12 years old. After his parents moved to Bayside, they put a tennis court in their backyard, which enabled him to try tennis starting at age 13. It was at this point where Wally gained a greater interest in tennis and he began taking private lessons with a pro at their home.

Once Wally entered high school, he joined the tennis team at Nicolet High School in Whitefish Bay, where he played on the varsity squad all four years. He began participating in tournaments at age 16. He saw plenty of success at Nicolet, highlighted by back-to-back semifinals appearances in the state tournament in his junior and senior years.

Following his graduation from high school, Wally then went on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was there where he played 3 years of collegiate tennis. Every summer, Wally would return home and worked as the Tennis Director for the Nicolet recreational tennis program.

In 1972, Wally was recruited by a former high school tennis teammate to work as a tennis pro at a new club called Le Club in Glendale. Then, after several years as a tennis pro, he was promoted to Tennis Director at Le Club. Once Kay Yuspeh purchased Le Club in 2012, Wally was named Tennis Director of Elite-River Glen.

Wally’s Greatest Accomplishment

When asked about his greatest accomplishment in his tennis career, Wally views his career having two components: teaching and playing. He considers his greatest teaching accomplishment when he was awarded the Club Corp. of America Tennis Pro of the Year in the 1980s. The award recognized successful tennis programs, taking into account number of participants, variety of programming, etc. Wally recalls traveling to Charleston to receive the award, “It was a great honor.”

When it came to his playing career, Wally considers his proudest moment was helping Team Wisconsin clinch the 1970 Junior Davis Cup. They were competing against 8 other teams from the Midwest at the Town Club in Milwaukee. His teammates, including Elite tennis pro Rick Vetter, had already won 3 matches. In a clutch moment, Wally seized the fourth match victory to win the Midwest Junior Davis Cup for Wisconsin. “It was a hectic moment…playing at the Town Club right where everyone lives. I wasn’t the best player on the team, but I was fortunate enough to win it for our team.”

Wally’s Favorite Moment

When asked about what his favorite moment was from his time here, Wally said nothing sticks out because there are so many enjoyable times. “Every lesson I have a moment, because every time someone does something that they haven’t been able to do, those are the moments that I remember. I’ve been lucky I’ve been able to have that. As a teacher, it feels really good to see them improve and get excited.”

What Comes Next?

Even though he loves teaching, Wally notes the reason for his retirement as needing time for his body to recuperate. When asked if he will play more, he wants to take it easy for a year and then “see what happens.”

Wally’s Final Piece of Advice

Before he departs, Wally wants to leave some advice for not only the tennis players, but also for every member at Elite. “For the people that play tennis, I would say find a passion for why they’re playing. Tennis is one of those unique sports, where you can play for different reasons. The first is you can play and be social, whether it’s playing doubles, or just going out to play with others. The second way is to play for exercise, such as getting your steps in. And the third reason to play is to be competitive and play to win. If they can find out what reason they’re playing for, they’ll always enjoy themselves every time they go out on the court.”

For every member at Elite, Wally had this to say:

“When the Elite members walk into the club, they should enjoy the wonderful facilities that Kay has provided for everyone. When they walk into the club, they can forget about everything else and enjoy being here for whatever time period they’re here, whatever they’re going to do, whether it’s training, or yoga, or tennis. It’s a great opportunity to get away from daily concerns they have and get out of the rat race for a little while.”

We would like to thank Wally for his many years of dedication and service, and wish him well in his retirement! Thanks Wally and good luck!

11 Comments

  • Christopher Bae says:

    Coach Wally
    You trained me through junior high and high school
    I played one year of div 3 tennis and then had to put the racquets down until now 20 years later

    To this day I think of the time patience and wisdom you gave me
    And to this day you have me a great kick serve that I still have !
    Be in touch
    Chris Bae

  • Michelle Hynson says:

    Hey Wally, Rick and I loved lessons with you, EVERY time! Good luck in your retirement!

  • LEANNE GROBAN says:

    Hey Wally, While watching the exhibition match at the Winston Salem Classic between Barty and Gauff, I got a chance to reflect on my years playing tennis and taking lessons from you. I still remember when you dissected my serve down to actually throwing an old racket across the court while on my knees and the millions of buckets of 10s balls I went through that winter before school at Le Club. While I no longer play tennis, I gained so much from the sport and transferred much that I learned from the game to other aspects of life. Thanks for your teaching and patience and enjoy your retirement.

  • Beth Romens says:

    Congratulations Wally! Enjoy Your Retirement… I will miss you and our morning Chats although I never experienced you on the Tennis court I got to know you over the years as a fellow employee and all around Wonderful Guy. Good Luck to you.
    Love and Friendship
    Beth

  • Joan Rogan says:

    Wally, You are always welcome in Scottsdale. Let me know if you and your family come out this way! Joan Rogan ([email protected])

  • Jenny Holmes says:

    Wally, it was great working with you all those years. You really were one of the best – tennis pro, employee, friend and all-around good person. I do hope you take time to enjoy retirement and spend time with Jodi and your family. Best of luck.
    Jenny

  • Dean Thompson says:

    Congratulations on a great career Wally! The club won’t be the same without you- you’re a class act and will be greatly missed. Enjoy your retirement!

  • Michael Strong says:

    Hey Wally,
    I’ve been away from the club for a little while and I have so missed chatting with you about the latest tournaments and players in the professional game. Your knowledge and insights were always spot on. Your kindness and Clouse were always ever present.

    I wish you and Jodi all the best moving forward.

  • Ron Bloomquist says:

    Congratulations Wally! Enjoy you well deserved retirement!
    Ron Bloomquist

  • Pat Waterman says:

    I’ll always remember how much I enjoyed tennis primarily because you taught the fine points of the game. Even though I could never get the “hitch” out of my serve, you did your best to help me with the rest of my game. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being the best tennis pro ever!

  • Sistie Roberts says:

    Congratulations on your retirement; the Le Club/RiverGlen members were so fortunate to have you as a teacher, coach, mentor and friend for many years. We all cherish our time spent in your company. Maybe now you will visit me in FL. We have great tennis courts!!!
    Love
    Sistie

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