Owner of West Indy Racquet Club & IUPUI Men’s Head Tennis Coach
USPTA Elite Professional
As of March 23rd, 2016, Brandon is the new owner of West Indy.
Brandon Currie has served as head coach of the men’s team in the IUPUI Jaguars Tennis program since the 2005-06 campaign. He has directed the Jags to five straight Summit League Tournament appearances and in 2015, he was named Summit League Coach of the Season. Prior to becoming the head coach, Currie was an assistant for the Jaguars men’s team from 2003-05 and the women’s team from 2002-04.
Brandon played collegiately at Butler University where he graduated as the most prolific tennis player in school history with school records for most singles and doubles wins. He was a First Team All-Conference every year of his collegiate career and was the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year his freshman year. In each of his final three seasons, he was named the Horizon League Player of the Year and his final season as a Bulldog was capped by being named the Butler Male Athlete of the Year.
During Currie’s career, Butler captured Horizon League titles and participated in the NCAA Tournament three times. As a senior, Currie was ranked 30th nationally in doubles and 60th in singles by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native participated periodically in professional tournaments upon graduation, both locally and on the ATP Satellite circuit. He won the Pearson Ford Open in 2003 and the Tim and Tom Gullikson Memorial Tournament in 2004.
Currie has completed a Doctorate at IUPUI in Urban Education in Fall of 2015. He describes how he intends to meld his gifts and training when he says, “I am committed towards being a part of a program that encompasses principles of the game of tennis while using those principles to be a change agent within the lives of youth and members of the community. It is my passion to be associated with organizations focused on following transformative models that provide platforms for success to diverse groups of people within the city of Indianapolis.”
USPTA Elite USPTA Elite Professional
Paul Thomas has a rich and varied tennis background. Paul was a 4-time Indiana State Closed Junior Singles Champion (at Elkhart, IN) and was nationally ranked. He competed for 4 years on Ball State University’s Varsity team on a full Athletic Scholarship.
Formerly a pro at the Indianapolis Tennis Center from 2000 to 2010, Paul has also served as Head Pro and Director of Tennis at clubs in Indiana, Michigan, and Florida since the 1980s. Paul was formerly the Head Coach of the Central Indiana Jr. Davis Cup Team , served as CITA/USTA Area Training Center Coach for top juniors, and ran the Paul Thomas Tennis Academy in Florida and Michigan.
Paul has personally coached several “Top 20″ nationally ranked juniors and a handful of national champions. Paul also served as a Clinician/Speaker for USPTA workshops and conventions in the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s while also being a featured columnist for the CrossCourt News (Chicago), Florida Tennis (Palm Beach) and Indiana Tennis magazines with his “Taking You To The Top” column.
Paul enjoys working alongside his West Indy teammates and will offer help where needed
Lucas Waak played college tennis at Valparaiso University. He was a captain both junior and senior year. His senior year the team went through the conference regular season undefeated and swept the conference tournament en route to the NCAA tournament. Lucas is 10th all time in school history for singles victories and 4th all time in doubles victories. He is 4th all time in singles winning percentage in a season and 9th all time in doubles wins for a season.
From Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Lucas was inducted into the Roncalli High School hall of fame in 2016 where he holds the school record for wins in a season and wins in a career. He qualified for the state tournament 3 times, finishing as the runner up his senior year.
Lucas graduated from Valparaiso University in 2016 with a major in Sports Management and a minor in Business Administration. Coaching has always been a passion of his. He began giving a few lessons when he was 15. As he began giving more and more, he quickly realized this is what he wanted to do for a profession. He loves the game of tennis and wants to help others reach their full potential on and off the court.
Cassidy has worked as a part time club attendant at West Indy since August 2015. She is also a full time student at IUPUI studying community health with a minor in medical sociology. She will graduate in May 2017. She grew up in Evansville, IN and moved to Indy for school. She has played tennis most of her life and played varsity 1 and 2 doubles in high school. She still plays tennis for fun with family and friends whenever she can. Her other interests include reading, camping, running, boating, and skiing.
For the past two years, Barb has been the volunteer coach for Wheel Chair Tennis of Indiana. She was previously the head coach for girls' tennis at IPS Northwest High School. Through grants she authored, the girls and boys on the team received weekly private lessons at WIRC.
From 2005-2009 Barb was assistant tennis director at Camp Wayne for Girls in the Poconos. She has captained numerous USTA teams and in 2007 she attended Wimbledon. Presently, she is seeking determined 60+ women to form a team and play for a national championship.
She believes in form, fight, and fitness when it comes to a complete approach to successful play, but also never forgets the fun!
Life outside of tennis includes previously serving as a guidance counselor or urban, rural, and international schools, and as she just renewed her license, she hopes to continue this profession she loves, while continuing her partnership with WIRC.
Alireza Taghizadeh (Taghi) consistently ranked among top 2 while in high school in the state of West Azarbayjan, Iran. Taghi started coaching as a part time job while in college in 1999. After graduation as a mechanical engineer in 2002, he selected tennis coaching as his career.
He worked for 10 years at Keshvari Complex as manager/head coach/coach under the supervision of Saeed Ahmadvand, the Capitan of Iran Davis Cup and Supervisor of Iran Tennis Federation.
Taghi supervised the construction of two tennis clubs (Babaii tennis club & Sharifii tennis club) and worked as the manager/head coach of both clubs from 2012 through 2015. In the meantime, he also participated in tournaments as coach/player. Mr. Taghizadeh has two International Professional Certifications from USPTA and PTR.
Blondell became a new resident of Indianapolis, IN in October, 2014. She is a native of Milwaukee, WI.
She is a retired school teacher. She taught in the Milwaukee Public School System for 16 years, as an elementary school teacher.
Blondell is looking forward to her new venture as office manager of West Indy Racquet Club. She will be assisting her son, Brandon Currie, in the day to day activities at West Indy, continuing high quality service and a positive atmosphere.
PTR Certified Professional/ Club Attendant
Byron Slabach was born and raised in Middlebury, IN. He graduated from Northridge High School in 2013 with Academic Honors. He picked up tennis in 7th grade and quickly took to the sport. Byron played tennis all four years at Northridge, lettering his sophomore, junior, and senior year, as well as being awarded All-Conference honors during his senior season.
Byron moved to Indianapolis in Fall of 2013 to attend school at IUPUI. He is now currently a Senior at IUPUI finishing a Bachelor’s of Science in Media Arts and Science (with a concentration in Web Development), with a Minor in Applied Computer Science, as well as a Certificate in Human-Computer Interaction. Byron also is the Boys’ Varsity Tennis Assistant Coach at Pike High School, Assistant League Coordinator of Indy Social Tennis League, and is the current President of Club Tennis at IUPUI. Byron is a PTR Certified Instructor for Adult Development.
PTR Certified Professional/Club Attendant
Andre Hines joined West Indy Racquet Club in August of 2016 as a PTR certified tennis instructor. He began playing tennis at the age of 6 as part of NJTL of Trenton, under the instruction of his father. Andre very quickly became an instructor on his neighborhood courts in Ewing, NJ with NJTL. He played varsity tennis at Ewing High School where he was named captain of the Ewing Blue Devils as a sophomore. Under his leadership he lead his team to a state championship berth, the first in over 10 years.
Andre’s tennis career has allowed him to travel across the country competing in USTA tournaments and the AAU Junior Olympics where he brought home 1 bronze and 2 gold medals. After high school Andre went on to compete in Division III collegiate tennis singles and doubles at Kings College in Pennsylvania. Andre is currently playing singles and doubles on the GLTA tour, recently winning in doubles in division A and singles in division B. As a part of West Indy, Andre is excited to work with individuals at all levels to maximize their potential, enthusiasm, and athletic skill in the game of tennis.
Assistan IUPUI Men's Tennis Coach /Certified Professional
Bren Vasalakis is beginning his fourth season as an assitant coach for the IUPUI men's tennis program. His duties with the men's tennis program include player development, working with freshmen and transfers on getting acclimated to IUPUI, opponent scouting, and implementing game plans. In his first season with the Jaguars, Vasalakis helped the Jags reach the Summit League Championship match for the third straight season.
Prior to joining the men's tennis staff, Vasalakis was a four-year letterwinner and three-year captain for the Jags and participated in the 2011 conference title match in both singles and doubles.
Off the court, Vasalakis was a three-time Summit League Commisioner's List of Academic Excellence honoree and earned a spot on the IUPUI Academic Advisor's List seven times. He graduated from IUPUI in 2012 with a degree in kinesiology.
J. Elise Vestal
USPTA Certified Professional
Elise joined WestIndy Racquet Club in June of 2016. She has her professional tennis certification with the USPTA. Along with teaching at WIRC, she is a pro for the Riviera Club. Elise coached the varsity tennis team at Ritter High School as well as the National Junior Tennis League Jack Bradshaw Advanced Program.
Elise equally loves working with adults and youth and their unique challenges. One aspect she especially enjoys is nurturing a love for tennis so they will “play and stay” their whole lives. Elise is a Hoosier and was part of the North Central High School State Champion Varsity Tennis team in 1992.