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Toth Postcard

When some people hear the word pickleball, the stereotype is senior citizens, players noisily taking over public tennis courts, and extreme competition.

Alex Toth smiles when asked about that stereotype. A sponsored pickleball player and Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management (RPTM) major at Penn State, Alex is positioning himself to be among the elite players. He hopes to make his way to Major League Pickleball (MLP) and become eligible for the MLP draft sometime after he finishes his degree this summer.

Toth Teaching

How does a kid from Pittsburgh end up playing pickleball? Alex started in high school. “People think of pickleball as new but my high school – South Park near Pittsburgh – has had it for years. I started playing as a freshman and then after high school I upped my game. My parents were really supportive and took me to tournaments. Through those tournaments, I just worked my way up through the levels.” 

It was through one of those tournaments that Alex made contacts to secure his summer internship at The Wembley Club in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The Wembley Club is a Fitness Center that offers fitness programs and facilities, swimming clubs, summer camps, and pickleball. The club currently has three pickleball professionals on staff. Alex’s role this summer is to assist in programming, facilities operations and, of course, supporting the pickleball programs and camps for members of all ages.

Alex started his Penn State experience by enrolling close to home at the Greater Allegheny campus of Penn State. He said, “I was undecided about my major. Penn State is like a tradition in my family. My parents, my cousins, my uncle…all went to Penn State. My mom even started at Greater Allegheny.”

The smaller class size, and the campus response to COVID and getting people back into the classroom early in the pandemic, were among Alex’s positive experiences at Greater Allegheny (GA). “I found RPTM by talking to other RPTM students at GA and then talking to the RPTM professor there. I was able to start working on my major courses by taking RPTM courses through the World Campus.”

Toth Serving

Alex completed his first two years at Greater Allegheny and then finished his remaining coursework at University Park. He is now living and working in Ohio, and will complete his degree at the conclusion of his internship.

Parallel to his goal of turning professional as a pickleball player, Alex hopes to continue working and eventually managing a sports facility like the Wembley Club. “I like the flexibility and the fact that it isn’t a typical 9-5 job. They trust the staff to manage their time and do the work. I like that environment.” 

Alex followed his parents to Penn State, and they are now following him into pickleball. Their exposure at all of the tournaments, where they took Alex to play, sparked their interest in the game too.

With paddle in one hand, and RPTM degree in the other, we know that Alex is set for great things – both on and off the pickleball court.