By Bill Hensley
July 5, 2012. By the time he was a teenager, Paul Goode knew that he wanted to make tennis his sport of choice.
Growing up, Goode played multiple sports and was skiing, playing tennis, soccer, basketball, and swimming. “My parents got me involved in athletics early, but they never pushed me. I have always loved different sports, and I am thankful my parents gave me that opportunity.”
Goode took his first tennis lesson at the age of 8. His first teacher was Bob Light, the renowned tennis pro at Hound Ears. “From the ages of 10-12 both of my parents took me out to hit with them, my mom always let me win, but my dad and I had some very competitive matches. I loved to beat him.”
In the beginning, Goode was influenced by many coaches around the area. He spent time working with Scott Leftris, Bob Lake, David Siddons, Andy Lake, Mike Kernodle, and Alan Burchall. “Scott Leftris spent the most time with me, he used to hit with me almost everyday for free. I think he saw that I had potential, and he knew my parents could not afford for me to take many lessons.”
Now the Tennis Director at the Hound Ears Club, Goode looks back on his high school career as a key point in his life. The versatile star excelled in tennis and was undefeated in four years of competition, winning over 80 consecutive duel team matches during that span.
As a high school senior Goode became the number one ranked player in the state in the 18 and under division. Because of his great record, he won a scholarship to UNC-Greensboro where he continued his dominance. He was named All-Conference as a freshman in doubles and helped his team win the Southern Conference title in 2001.
He was graduated in 2003 with a degree in Hospitality Management.
Goode’s first job was as an assistant tennis professional at Yonahlossee where he honed his craft for a year. He became Tennis Director at Hound Ears in 2004 and has built a strong program at the private club. He replaced Light who was a legend at the club during a 30-year stay.
“Bob Light is an inspiration to everyone who knows him, he is a great man” Goode said. “It is an honor to follow in his footsteps.”
At Hound Ears, Goode works with an avid cadre of around 50 tennis-playing members, including a number of junior players. He teaches six to eight hours daily during the peak season.
“I love it here,” he offered. “We have great members to work with, and outstanding facilities. I can’t imagine a better atmosphere to work in.”
Goode is at Hound Ears from May until September. During the winter, he is the head tennis coach at the University of Texas-Pan American, a Division I school with an enrollment of 20,000 in South Texas. He will start his second year in that job in the fall.
“I am enjoying college coaching,” he said. “We have a young team and have made vast improvements in the last year. But we know we have a long way to go.”
At the moment, Goode is working on a Pro-Am tournament at Hound Ears in July, and practicing for the City of Asheville Open, where many of the state’s top players participate.
In his last tournament, Goode, 32, won the state championship in doubles in the North Carolina Open. His partner was William Noblitt of Shelby, a former N. C. State player. Paul also reached the quarter finals in singles but lost to Andrew Carter of Greensboro who went on to win the title.
Goode said that one of his toughest opponents ever was John Isner of Greensboro who is a current star on the professional circuit. “He plays the big points better than any other player I have faced. When it came to an important point, he was almost always is able to raise his level of play.”
A Boone native, Goode is married to the former Dana Arrowood of Spruce Pine who was a soccer star at UNC-Greensboro, playing on a team that won multiple conference regular season and tournament championships. The couple has two sons, Gavin, 4, and Griffin, 2.
“I have had Gavin out to play a few times, and he seems to like hitting the ball,” Goode commented. “Playing with the boys is a lot of fun. They keep me on my toes.”
When he isn’t playing or teaching, the affable Goode enjoys running, biking, reading, drawing, and spending time with his family. “I actually play a good bit of tennis. I know it is a little unusual to play in my free time, as much as I am on the court coaching, but I still enjoy it”
Be careful when you holler “tennis, anyone?” around Paul Goode. He’ll take you up. And probably beat you. He’s good at what he does.