With the rapid rise in the popularity of pickleball, people are turning to tennis players for their expertise and guidance. While many tennis players have converted to pickleball over the last few years, very few have been able to achieve what Matthew Mead has. Mead was a four-year member of the tennis team at Chapman and competed in the doubles lineup all four years. Upon graduating in 2020 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy, he joined the coaching staff for the 2019-20 season. 

After completing his degree in 2020, the abundance of time and uncertainties from the pandemic left him unsure what to do with his future. Amidst the closure of many activities and facilities in 2020, there were still some outdoor activities that were permitted, hence the rise of pickleball. Mead began playing pickleball during this time in front of his house in the streets with his sisters and at the park. 

Two and a half years passed, and the practice had paid off. Mead began competing as a professional athlete, traveling and competing in the PPA and APP tours. While he was competing, he was still coaching at Chapman and all over Orange County. He worked hard, striving to get his rating and ranking up. 

Looking back now, Mead reflects on all his accomplishments throughout his time as a professional athlete. He ranked as high as 35 in singles, 38 in mixed doubles, and top 50 in men’s doubles in the pickleball world. To his day, he still loves to compete and practice pickleball. He has also continued his involvement in tennis with his position in the coaching staff on the Chapman tennis team. 

Mead wants people to know that there are always opportunities to follow your passion, and you can be successful in whatever you want to do. He found himself struggling in school, but ultimately ended up pursuing a career that he loves. He advises that you don’t have to follow a career path solely based on what you studied in college; There are many opportunities to follow your passion, creating your own definition of success. He hopes to “continue to achieve [his] goals and keep working at being a better person, pickleball pro, and a coach.”