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What is Mentor Pickleball?

Mentor Pickleball is the collaboration of two brothers and a friend (Brian Murphy, Mike Murphy, Ken Werner) who enjoy and want to promote the sport of Pickleball in the Mentor, OH area. We work closely with the City of Mentor and help with clinics, classes, leagues, and tournaments. We also maintain a website (www.mentorpickleball.org) and publish a periodic e-newsletter as a free service to help "spread the word".

History of Pickleball in Mentor, OH

The idea to bring Pickleball to the Mentor area was initiated in early 2012, after brothers Mike and Brian Murphy had observed the game in Texas and talked about bringing it to the Mentor area.  During the summer of 2012, they convinced the City of Mentor to allow a Pickleball court to be lined on an existing court at Walsh Park.  A small but dedicated group of individuals began playing that summer.  In the Fall of 2012, play moved inside to Heisley Racquet and Fitness Club, where Mike and Brian convinced the club to line two Pickleball courts on the existing basketball court.  During the Fall and Winter, the number of participants increased significantly, as many tennis players and racquetball players found the sport to their liking.

In the meantime, Brian was working with Bob Martin, head of the City of Mentor Parks and Recreation Department, to build outdoor courts.  And in May 2013, work was completed on 6 outdoor Pickleball courts at Mentor Civic Center Park.  In September 2013, the first Madness in Mentor Tournament was organized by Brian, Mike, and Ken Werner, with 59 teams participating.

In June 2014, an additional 6 courts were added at Mentor Civic Center Park, making it at the time one of the largest Pickleball complexes in the country with 12 state-of-the-art courts.  (An additional 3 courts were added in May 2017 expanding the complex to its now current 15 courts).

In July 2014, the 2nd Madness in Mentor Tournament was held, with 90 teams and players participating from 10 different states and Canada.

In June 2016, the Madness in Mentor Tournament was re-named the Benjamin F. Edwards Pickleball Tournament.  Participation has continued to grow every year, with nearly 300 players participating in June 2018.  That year's tournament was also notable because it included the #1 women's player in the world, Simone Jardim, who not only played (and won) in the top division, but also provided clinics and lessons to local Pickleball players.

Each year, participation in regular and tournament play has continued to increase.  In addition to the annual Benjamin F. Edwards Pickleball Tournament, we now hold monthly round-robin Shootout Tournaments both during the summer at Mentor Civic Center Park and during the fall/winter at Mentor Heisley Racquet and Fitness Club.

In October 2019, a new era began with the opening of indoor Pickleball courts at Mentor Heisley Racquet and Fitness Club.  "Pickleball World @ Heisley" offers 4 dedicated indoor Pickleball courts, and is open 7 days a week, with leagues, open play, classes, and clinics.

Special thanks goes out to Bob Martin (former head) and Kenn Kaminski, current head of the City of Mentor Parks and Rec Department, and Natalie Tomazic at Mentor Heisley Racquet and Fitness Club, who have provided foresight and support to help grow the sport of Pickleball.in the area.

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