ID: Michael Asher Kolendo

Last modified: Sunday, June 02, 2013

Michael Asher Kolendo, a tennis pro, has worked and lived in the Valley since 1994. In 2011, he was named United States Professional Tennis Association Pro of the Year and in 2012 was awarded the Joseph Deitz Bowl by USPTA and United States Tennis Association New England for being the pro who contributed the most to tennis in New England.

Full name: Michael Asher Kolendo

People know you as: Mike

Date and place of birth: Dec. 10, 1964, Westfield

Address: Hadley

Job: Tennis director for 19 years at the Northampton Recreation Department and tennis instructor at Tennis at Maple Ridge in Sunderland

Who lives under the same roof as you? My wife, Cindy, my 4¾-year-old daughter (to whom the ¾ is very important), Deanna Maggie, and our 18-year-old cat, Bonkers

Education: Master’s degree in finance, University of Florida; Professional 1, United States Professional Tennis Association

Hobbies: Music — I have more guitars, basses and various stringed instruments than any person with my playing ability should be allowed to have.

Book you’d recommend to a friend: “Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood” by Michael Lewis.

Favorite TV show: “The Big Bang Theory”

Five items you can’t live without: Smartphone; car stereo; my Nissan Xterra; guitars; my customized Gamma tennis racquets

Last thing you purchased just for fun: AudioEngine A2 powered speakers that can plug into anything I own.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? I grew up listening to my grandfather tell stories about being stationed in the Fiji Islands on the USS North Carolina. I’d love to take my dad, who also hasn’t been to Fiji, for a visit

Life-changing experience: In 2008, Cindy and I travelled to Gulfport, Miss., to adopt a little girl. We got the call on the day she was born. A woman knocked on our hotel room door and handed us a baby

Strangest job you ever held: I was an inspector for Terminix: I had to crawl around in attics and under houses to look for insects, bugs and other stuff that “normal” people really don’t want to find

A little-known fact about you: I’ve never had a private tennis lesson

Dumbest thing you ever did: As a teenager, I broke my nose by crashing face first into a mailbox while racing a friend in the dark

One product you’d like to see return: I’d love to see more car choices with standard transmissions. My Xterra has 175,000 miles on it. Who knows, I may need a new vehicle some day

What really sets you off? Highway drivers who can’t drive the same speed. They pass you and slow down. You pass them and they look at you like you’re an idiot. Please use your cruise control

If you could spend the day with a celebrity from any time in history, who would it be? Arthur Ashe. Aside from his civil rights work, I’m not sure that anyone has ever—or will ever—do as much for community tennis in the United States

Best advice you ever got: When someone offers you an opportunity, say “yes.” It sounds simple but I see people miss opportunities all of the time. And never argue with an idiot. People watching might not be able to tell the difference

Favorite place to get a bite: Florence Pizza for a Greek salad or a reasonably priced beer; Mi Tiera in Hadley for enchiladas; El Caminito in Northampton for a steak

Your favorite team: Florida Gators football. It’s impossible to go to a great football university and not get caught up in it — especially when you’re there while someone like Emmitt Smith is playing

What does your ideal weekend look like? Since I spend weekdays in the summer outside on a tennis court, all I really want to do is stay in and play my guitars with a bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc

One thing you would change about yourself: I’d like to be as organized in my personal life as I am in my professional life. My wife would really like that, too

What gives you the creeps? Seeing sports injuries on TV — and they play them over and over

Whom do you most admire? I don’t really admire a particular person. I admire qualities: quiet confidence, personal responsibility (ethical, emotional, financial) and an ability to stick to your own point of view without passing judgment on those who disagree with you

Parting shot: From my dad: Don’t sweat the small stuff, and remember, it’s all small stuff

— Compiled by Brenda Nelson

To suggest someone for ID, send an email to Brenda Nelson at

Photo by Kevin Gutting


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