Sports Connection: The Shadek Match
For Ned Shadek ’82, it was just like old times. On a sunny morning last October, the lanky Boston resident—a top player on the Pomona-Pitzer tennis team three decades ago—was back on campus swatting tennis balls around.
The occasion? A celebration of the wide-ranging upgrades to Pomona’s Pauley Tennis Complex, a development in which Shadek played a leading role. Improvements to the 10-court facility include additional lighting, resurfaced courts and an expansive onsite classroom for team meetings and video sessions. To make those renovations a reality, Ned and his wife, Kristine, issued a fundraising challenge back in 2009. The couple promised to match any financial gift or pledge up to the amount of $200,000. Their challenge spurred a spirited response from the Pomona-Pitzer tennis community: 60 donors contributed the full $200,000. The College also set aside $250,000 for the upgrades, which were completed last summer.
“It’s really nice to be able to give back to the school and to the tennis program, which is something that was so important to me in my formative years,” says Shadek. “The time I spent at Pomona College is such a large part of who I am. One of the things I really enjoyed was the chance to play sports and be a student at the same time.”
The October ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official opening of the renovated tennis complex. Shadek delivered a speech, and he and Kristine received a plaque commemorating their gift to the College. Afterward, Ned took the opportunity to hit some tennis balls with members of the current Pomona- Pitzer men’s team.
“That felt great,” says the investment management professional, who was a top executive at Putnam Investments for many years, and has just recently launched his own company, Shaylor Capital.
Chief among the improvements to Pauley is the installation of state-of-the- art lighting on the lower four courts. (The four upper courts already had lighting.) Being able to now use eight courts at night, for both practices and matches, is a big boost for the men’s and women’s teams—more than 25 players in all. Because of limited lighting in the past, weekday matches were typically held in the daytime, meaning many players had to request absences from class.
“This way we can have more evening matches—schedule them at 6 p.m.,” says Ben Belletto, head coach of the Pomona-Pitzer men’s tennis team. “That’s a tremendous asset.”
The Pauley renovations, the most extensive in the facility’s 21-year history, also include new windscreens, posts and fencing for the courts, and the addition of wooden benches to make the tennis complex more spectator-friendly. Shadek played on the tennis team all four years he was at Pomona. Competing in the sport, he learned about camaraderie and teamwork, he says, adding that several teammates became among his closest friends in life. In addition, he says being a student athlete taught him a great deal about structure and discipline.
“You learn lessons from sports that help you in life,” Shadek says. “In tennis you win matches and you lose matches, and when you lose you learn how to pick yourself up and keep battling.”
At 50, he is still an avid tennis player, hitting the courts two or three times a week—and often playing with his three boys: Teddy, 15, Will, 14, and Charlie, 11. That’s another reason the Shadeks say they feel good about their gift to Pomona: Tennis is a family sport and one that can extend far beyond your college years.
“You can play tennis your whole life,” says Kristine.
Coach Belletto says it’s particularly gratifying that the Pauley renovations were funded largely by the Pomona-Pitzer tennis community. When members of his team saw Shadek at the October ceremony, he notes, it reinforced the link between past and present players.
“There was something really nice about it,” says the coach. “With Ned, the guys saw that here’s someone who played in the early ’80s and now he’s coming back and having an impact on the program.”
Pauley Tennis Complex Enhancements
Gifts of $5,000 and Above
- Richard W. and Wanda C. Allinson P’13 and Frankie W. Allinson ’13
- Michael J. Benaroya ’03
- Sean and Ann Finicane P’10 honoring Siobhan Finicane ’10, NCAA National Champion and All American Matthew D. ’88 and Kassy W. Ockner
- In Memory of Karl Borton Rodi ’29
- Michael E. Schimmel ’93
- Edward T. Shadek, Jr. ’82 and Kristine Shadek
- Craig C. and Anne L. Taylor P’09 and Cameron T. Taylor ’09, All American
- Rochelle J. ’92 and A. Scott Whelan
- Tracy R. and Catherine H. Wolstencroft P’12 and Paige W. Wolstencroft ’12