City of Irvine tennis professional Steve Riggs
City of Irvine tennis professional Steve Riggs

Steve Riggs, City of Irvine
tennis professional extraordinaire

by Rich Neher
Steve Riggs, 54, born in Los Angeles and raised in Indio, has great hand-eye coordination. How else can you explain that a man who started playing tennis at age 14, and never took a lesson, ended up a teaching professional and Program Coordinator for the entire city of Irvine with 87 tennis courts?
After playing varsity tennis for Indio High School, Riggs joined the Air Force and spend 3 1/2 years in Germany. Based in the Frankfurt area, he played singles and doubles club tennis and satellites. After returning to the US he played for College of the Desert in Palm Desert. At age 28 Riggs started his full time career as teaching pro at the Indian Palms Country Club & Resort in Indio. After 4 years in Indio he worked at the La Habra Tennis Center, became Director of Tennis at the Diamond Bar Country Estates, and after stints in Virginia and Hawaii returned to Southern California to work at the Palisades Tennis Center as Assistant Director of Tennis under Steve Bellamy.
From 2002 to 2004 Riggs worked as the Head Professional for the Safe Passage Tennis Program in Los Angeles, before moving to Orange County as Director of Tennis / Program Coordinator for the City of Irvine. He says, "We have the #1 city run tennis program in the nation. Irvine is a great city to work for, with more parks per square mile than any other US city and - tennis courts are free to the public."
Irvine is an affluent suburban city in Orange County, California, with a population of about 223,000 people. Steve Riggs oversees all tennis activities and programs at 17 facilities with 64 all-lit courts, plus 3 high schools with 23 courts. Kids programs are his passion, especially because two of his children are already playing tennis. He and his wife, Malou, have been blessed with two sets of twins, Mikayla and Patrick, Julianne and Cathrin. The older ones, Mikayla and Patrick, are already playing tournaments.
Riggs raves about a new city project that was approved on the grounds of the former El Toro Marine Corps Station, most of which is planned to be converted into the Orange County Great Park. The project includes a new 25 court tennis facility including a stadium court, to be finished by the end of 2015.
Why does Steve Riggs love his job working for the city of Irvine so much? "I love being able to affect and enhance the Irvine tennis community," says Riggs. He adds, "We are active at the SCMAF (Southern California Municipal Athletic Federation), host umpire training, PTR conventions and seminars, and our own tennis conference, which is in its 4th year now.
Steve can be reached at

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