By Stephen Ramirez
@SteveRRamirez on Twitter
GLENDORA — The former Glendora Tennis Championships, held from 1961-2003, were a major part of Paul Baiotto’s life, and Thursday, Baiotto, who died in 2012, was rewarded for that dedication.
Glendora High School officially named its tennis facility the Paul Baiotto Tennis Courts onThursday during a ceremony prior to the Tartans Baseline League match vs. Etiwanda.
All in attendance believed it was a fitting tribute for a man who dedicated so much of his time for tennis and the Glendora community.
“We’re all still playing — thanks to Paul — enjoying the game of tennis,” said Karen Baiotto, Paul’s wife. “Our sons, Brian, Brad and Brent so appreciate this honor because it will help his legacy live on. Paul had a passion for tennis and a penchant for details, which enabled the tournament to become the wonderful event that it was.
“If Paul were here today, he definitely would want to share this day with (the tournament volunteers). They made the tournament what it was. We couldn’t have done it without all of you.”
Biaotto, who grew up in Glendora and was a Glendora High graduated started the tournament from the ground up in 1961 and it annually became one of the top summer events in the Valley, featuring between 700-1,500 entrants each year in a variety of different competition levels, including open, juniors and seniors. It was the largest event in the Southern California Tennis Association summer schedule, and helped fun the up keep of several court locations in Glendora, including those at Glendora High and Goddard Middle School.
Bob Waldman, Baiotto’s chief assistant for much of the tournament’s run, said that Biaotto was the driving force behind the tournament’s success, though his organization and how he treated the players, and that the naming of the Glendora High tennis courts was an honor well-deserved.
“His memory will live on right here at the Paul Baiotto Tennis Courts at Glendora High,” Waldman told the crowd, some who were tournament volunteers and former players. “Paul, this one’s for you, your efforts truly embodied Glendora’s motto, ‘The Pride of the Foothills.’”
Glendora principal Paul Lopez and athletic director Rod Tilton, who along with Waldman help lead the charge for the dedication, were also in attendance as well as Glendora city council woman Karen Davis.
“It’s a great day,” Lopez said. “We’ve never done anything like this before. This may be the beginning of other things we may do on the Glendora campus to help serve the community. I have to thank our athletic director Rod Tilton, who did a great job of putting this event together.
“We’re very proud to name the courts after Paul Baiotto for all the service he did for the Glendora community and the high school for the many of years of teaching.”
Davis presented Karen Baiotto with a recognition award in Paul Baiotto’s honor.
By Stephen Ramirez