The Coast News Group

There’s nothing but love for these tennis club pros

RANCHO SANTA FE — It doesn’t hurt to remind community members about the caliber of people who work for them throughout the Covenant. At the Association’s Nov. 3 meeting, it recognized tennis professionals Derek Miller and Dophie Poiset from the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club.
Miller and Poiset co-manage the tennis club, give lessons and lead the many social events held at the club throughout the year.
For Miller, the head teaching professional, the job is “fantastic.”
“It is great!” he said. “We have a lot of great members at the club. Every single individual at the club I see is getting better and that is fantastic for every tennis pro to see.”
Miller, a native of San Diego, comes from a long line of athletes. He began playing tennis along with other sports at age 4. Over the years, he excelled at tennis.
He graduated from University of San Diego High School (now Cathedral Catholic) in 1998. In 2011, he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame for playing varsity baseball, football and for four CIF Tennis Championships.
After high school he went to Purdue University on a full tennis scholarship. He served as team captain in 2001 and 2002.
He graduated with a degree in sales management and marketing.?Miller came to the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club in 2004 as a tennis professional who helped manage all clinics and private instruction. In 2009, he was promoted to head professional and co-manager along with Poiset.
“My passion is coaching young beginners to high performance tennis members, directing junior and adult programs, leading social events and keeping constant communications with all the members,” Miller said.
He is the father of three young boys to whom he is already teaching tennis. They have their Sponge Bob Square Pants tennis racquets to use when he gives them short lessons a few times a week.
Poiset is an icon at the tennis club, having been there for 28 years.
She said she is beginning to teach tennis to the third generation of Rancho Santa Fe residents.
She, too, is a native of San Diego who began playing tennis at age 8 at Morley Field in Balboa Park.
“It was a family sport,” she said. “I was one of six kids.”
As a junior tournament player, she became ranked in the top 10 nationally and has several national titles to her credit.
She chose college over the international tennis tour and played Number One Singles at San Diego State.
Poiset began her teaching career at 18, giving group lessons to children for the San Diego Park and Recreation Department, while earning a degree in history and education.
She taught school for a couple of years before becoming a certified teaching professional and went back to teaching tennis.
In 1984 she joined the professional staff at the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club as the director of ladies and children programs and has been in that position since then.
Poiset became manager of the club in 2010 along with Miller.
And she said she believes the club’s junior program is the best in the county.
She said she considers her position as a dream job, because it is a dream of tennis professionals to find a spot at a top notch tennis club to spend their career.
“I think of myself as an old fashioned tennis pro,” she said.” As a traditionalist, I emphasize the importance of etiquette and sportsmanship above winning and I try to help students learn to carry on the time-honored traditions, polite behavior in manners and dress, courtesy and respect toward opponents.”
In addition to her professional responsibilities, she also donates her time to local tennis endeavors including being a member of the board of directors of the San Diego Division U.S. Professional Tennis Association since 2003 and serving two terms as its president.
She is also a board member of the San Diego Tennis Hall of Fame.
Poiset said she is proud of her students and that the club’s Ladies Senior Super League will travel to UCLA to compete.
“We are very proud of them,” she said.
And tennis club members are proud of her.
She earned the USTA San Diego District Tennis Association Professional of the year in 2002. In 2010 she was named Professional of the Year by the U.S. Professional Tennis Association.
Poiset said she thinks that tennis players are special people.
“Anywhere in the world, people in tennis are wonderful people,” she said.