The Bexley High School Tennis Center was renovated and renamed the Schiff Family Tennis Complex after Mike Schiff donated $ 100,000 for $ 325,000 to upgrade the facility.

Schiff, a 1979 Baxley graduate and 1978 state doubles champion who was also a two-time district champion, turned to Eli Goldberger, Baxley’s athletic school principal, to upgrade the facility, which dates back to 1925 when the tennis program began.

Schiff’s involvement and financial support helped launch the facility’s renovation project quickly, Goldberger told Columbus Jewish News. As a result, in the summer of 2021, the facility underwent a complete renovation, replacing cracked and worn tennis courts with new surfaces, as well as removing and replacing old fences, adding new mats and new windmills.

“So it’s a really new tennis facility,” Goldberger said. The renovated room now has “just the best playing surface, of course. I mean, now it’s just a great tennis center. “

In addition to the gift, Schiff, Rozan and Jerry Stern donated to the institution in memory of their son Andrew, who was a two-time state doubles champion and a member of the Bexley High School Sports Hall of Fame. The Central Court was renamed Andrew Stern Court in honor of his memory, Goldberger said.

The project was also supported by donations from the Bexley Public Foundation, the Bexley Educational Foundation and the Bexley Sports Boosters, as well as funds from the school district.

The next steps will be to set up a permanent exhibit in honor of all the Bexley alumni who were district and state champions, he said. These people helped inspire Schiff, Goldberger said.

“Schiff says a lot that he was inspired to grow up and watched some of the great tennis players go through the ranks,” he said. “With a brand new facility and with a tie in the past there will be an opportunity to inspire young children to enjoy a tennis program.”

Goldberger said tennis has opened many doors for Schiff. For example, one summer he contacted Jerome Shattenstein when he worked as a tennis professional during law school. Schottenstein offered Schiff a job after law school, and he continued to work for the family at Schottenstein Stores Corp. for 25 years, Goldberger said.

Schiff, who was also the main team of the All-League and All-Dispatch, a Dispatch athlete and was inducted into the Bexley High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2011, is part of a family that has been involved in the local tennis scene for decades. His uncle and cousins, Patti Schiff Braver and Amy Schiff Akerstein, also won state doubles titles.

Schiff has two children who play tennis with Bexley, Stefan, who is a junior, and Adrian, who is in high school, Goldberger said.

“The Schiff family has indeed been synonymous with tennis greatness throughout Bexley’s history, starting with his Uncle Leonardo, who won … the first Bexley State Championship in 1945,” he said.

The grand opening of the new facility will take place on May 22 in Bexley.

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