The beautifully remodeled blue courts of the Rohrbach Stadium Tennis Complex were completed in 2013. The complex, which is home to the St. Mary’s varsity tennis teams, features six resurfaced courts, two brand new courts, covered bleachers, and lights to allow for day and night competitions. The plan for the complex is to bring national exposure to St. Mary’s with events such as the United States Tennis Association tournaments and Intercollegiate Tennis Association regionals. The Rohrbach Stadium is a welcome companion to the state-of-the-art Alumni Athletics and & Convocation Center which was completed in 2001. The stadium courts were named after Brother Ed Rohrbach, who is considered one of the pioneers of the program after he coached the men's tennis team from 1954 through 1975. He also coached St. Mary's first singles champion, Juve Gonzalez, who won the Big State Conference singles title back-to-back years in the mid-1950s.
Tennis has a rich tradition at St. Mary’s, with men’s national championships in 1938,1940, and 1953. The men also won a conference title in 1977 and the women’s tennis team broke through with their first title in 2013. The plans for the facility coincide with St. Mary’s University’s mission to engage the community and the complex aims to become a vital part of the West side of San Antonio. The Rohrbach Tennis Complex can host a variety of activities and programs designed to meet the interests and needs of the public. These activities include youth sports clinics, athlete autograph-signing opportunities, festivals, concerts, and the collection of food items at the facilities to help people in the community.
One of the long-term members of the community and avid tennis aficionado and player is Brother Albert Kuntemeier or “Brother Al” as many know him in the community. In our interviews, his faith and passion for tennis radiated brilliantly. He says that athletic talent is a gift from God and using those God given gifts honor God. His personal mission statement is to “Pray and serve the community of St. Mary’s University.” To that end, he is constantly praying for the success and health of the St. Mary’s sports teams. At 89 years old, he manages to play tennis three days a week to honor God who enables him to still be so physically active. He honors God with every swing of his bracket and that love touches all those he interacts with. Faith and sports go hand in hand at St. Mary’s University. Another tennis lover, Heather Petersen embodied those ideals by volunteering for a service-learning program called Coach for College. Not only is she a wonderful tennis player but following the example set by Brother Al, she extended her prayer and service across the ocean, beyond the St. Mary’s campus to the larger community of faith in Vietnam. Read more of her incredible story here.
The St. Mary's tennis teams have risen to national prominence over the past decade. At the same time, due to normal wear and tear, the tennis courts on campus have deteriorated, and the Rattlers men's and women's teams have had to find another practice and match court, capping their potential growth on the national scene. Help St. Mary's remedy this through the, Bring Tennis Home program which will assist in refurbishing the courts on campus. Let’s honor the players of the past and support the athletes of today. Check out the facilities for a match or hit a few balls with a friend. Perhaps you will catch Brother Al in action while you play.