WEST MILTON — When asked what his favorite part of his Hall of Fame tennis career is, Steve Brumbaugh couldn’t choose.
Like picking a favorite child, it was simply impossible.
“That’s a tough one — I’ve enjoyed them all,” Brumbaugh, a 1986 graduate of Milton-Union High School, said. “I enjoyed competing as a tennis player. I enjoyed my days at the University of Dayton coaching that level of player. And coaching kids individually, I enjoy that a lot, too.”
Wednesday night, all of the pieces of his career came together in one night as Brumbaugh — a state qualifier at Milton-Union, a Hall of Fame player at Cedarville College, a two-time Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year at UD and the head tennis pro at Troy Country Club, where he has worked with many of the Miami County area’s young players — was inducted into the Miami Valley Tennis Coaches Association Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Fairmont High School.
At the ceremony, Brumbaugh was introduced and inducted by former Milton-Union tennis coach Sharon Paul.
“It was a nice event, a nice honor,” Brumbaugh said. “I was pretty humbled by it. A lot of these men, like (Troy coach) Mark Goldner and (Chaminade Julienne coach) Jim Brooks, I see them as really dedicating a lot of time, they had some great teams, and a lot of those kids I’ve coached privately. They’re a lot of great people. And, of course, Sharon Paul was the one that inducted me, and I think the world of her. She’s known me since I was a little kid. I was quite honored and humbled.”
For Brumbaugh, though, his tennis career begins and ends with his family.
In high school, he was a four-year letterwinner for the Bulldogs in tennis, qualified for district three times and, along with doubles partner and brother John Brumbaugh, made it further at the state tournament than any Milton-Union player, reaching the quarterfinal round.
“I’ve always enjoyed tennis, and it’s been very good to me,” Brumbaugh said. “I was trained by Bud Schroeder and Rob Shively, those were my two main coaches coming out of high school and college. My mom (Barb) and my dad (Phil) have always trained me — my mom has played tennis two or three days a week all her life, and I’ve just been very fortunate and blessed to be in the family I have.”
At Cedarville College, Brumbaugh set the school record for victories in both singles and doubles, as well as overall wins. Currently, Brumbaugh is a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame at both Milton-Union and Cedarville University.
He continued to play competitively for two years after college before becoming UD’s head tennis coach. He spent 12 years there, winning the A-10’s Coach of the Year award in 1999 and 2005. Since, he has been the head pro at Troy Country Club for 25 years.
And for the past six years, he’s watched and helped train his two oldest sons, Matt and Philip, excel on the courts at Milton-Union High School. Matt finished his high school career two years ago as a three-time state qualifier, and Philip just finished his senior year a two-time qualifier.
“It’s been a pleasure to watch them. Like one guy said, 90 percent of the time, it’s been a joy to coach them,” Brumbaugh said. “They’re good kids, and tennis has been something they can feel a sense of pride in.”
Especially in 2015 — Matt’s senior and Philip’s sophomore year. The duo joined up as a doubles team and won a pair of matches at the Division II state tournament, reaching the semifinal round and placing fourth.
“They were happy to beat John and I’s record, that’s for sure,” Brumbaugh said with a laugh.
Matt went on to play at Cedarville University, where he still currently plays. And after graduating, Philip will be rejoining him there this fall.
“Philip’s excited about it. He wanted to play with his brother in college,” Brumbaugh said. “I’m happy that they both chose to go to Cedarville. It has a strong affiliation with the church, and they have a strong desire to be around other Christians. It’s kind of a remarkable thing really. I think it’s a great school, and to have them both in the same place, it’ll make things so much easier. I couldn’t be happier.”
Brumbaugh has two younger children, as well — Nick and Shannon. Nick just completed his sophomore year at Milton-Union as a district qualifier — playing doubles with John’s son, Nathan.
Currently, Brumbaugh is preparing for the third year of his summer tennis camp, the Traveling Tennis Roadshow, which offers instruction for high school players at Milton-Union, Tippecanoe and Butler. The camps run for five separate weeks beginning June 5.
“To tell you the truth, most of the kids out there, I’ve worked with at some time,” Brumbaugh said. “I look at them year after year, and I do see a tremendous amount of growth. It’s very rewarding.”
As for picking a favorite part?
“I can’t really pick a favorite. I love them all,” Brumbaugh said. “I find a sense of pride in all of them. It’s just been a rewarding experience to be a part of tennis, and as I shared in my speech last night, I really feel like God used it throughout my life, so I give a lot of praise and glory to God.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.