Tennis & Life Camps
Neal Hagberg is the TLC Director. He has taught tennis, led music and entertainment, directed counseling, and headed the “life” portion of TLC since 1981, and has served as Director since 2011. Neal and his wife Leandra are nationally acclaimed singers and songwriters who have been awarded two McKnight Foundation Fellowships. He has also earned the USPTA's Elite Pro Certification. Neal’s unique combination of inspiring talks, motivating music, perceptive tennis teaching, and leadership skills have been crucial for the camp’s success.
Barb and Steve Wilkinson directed TLC from 1977 to 2010. Now they serve on the Board of Directors and continue to assist TLC. In 2010 Steve received the International Tennis Hall of Fame national education award and was inducted into the Intercollegiate Hall of Fame.
Dr. Tommy Valentini is the Assistant Director of Tennis. He has been the men's tennis coach since 2010 with four MIAC titles and was 2012 MIAC Men's Tennis Coach of the Year. He is also a professor of sport ethics at Gustavus.
David Lachman is the Assistant Director of Operations. David has been the Assistant Men's Tennis Coach at Gustavus since 2015 and has coached with several high school programs. He is in charge of controlling business operations of the camp as well as supervising instructors and office staff. David has been a part of the TLC staff since 2007.
Several experienced Gustavus staff members at TLC include:
Jon Carlson- Jon is the Head Women's Tennis Coach at Gustavus. He has led his team to win numerous MIAC championships and Coach of the Year awards, as well as a national championship.
Liz Retzlaff- Liz has been a member of the TLC Staff since 2004. Liz holds a masters degree in physical education from UW-La Crosse and teaches physical education in Marion, WI.
Other experienced instructors include Aaron Brock- USPTA Professional at Life Time Athletic; Chad Anderson- USPTA Professional at Palisades Tennis Center and Assistant Girls' Tennis Coach at Brainerd High School; and Nick Hoelmer- Assistant Women's Tennis Coach at Gustavus. All instructors are trained in tennis teaching methods, CPR, human relations, and counseling. They are known for their high energy levels, outgoing personalities, and positive reinforcement skills. A student/teacher ratio of 4:1 ensures individual attention.