Digby taking on big role at Taco Bell tournament
By ALLEN GEMAEHLICH
When Cliff Digby and his wife decided to retire in Grand Junction, he planned to get involved in the tennis community.
The former Boulder Fairview High School boys and girls tennis coach will be completely involved in Grand Junction’s biggest tournament this week.
The Taco Bell Western Slope Open tournament begins Tuesday with junior play and continues through Sunday. The tournament takes place at various courts throughout Grand Junction, with Mesa State College’s Elliott Tennis Center the headquarters.
Digby is not only playing in the tournament, but is the new head umpire as well. The roaming umpires handle any disputes that may occur in a match.
“He’s wonderful,” tournament director Lena Elliott said. “He’s always said he wanted to be involved in tennis out here. I have him jumping in with both feet.”
Linda Digby is volunteering as well, even though she doesn’t play tennis.
Digby coached high school tennis for 27 years. He would often bring his boys and girls teams to Grand Junction for the Western Slope Invitational, directed by Elliott. Digby was a middle school counselor for 15 years. The Digbys bought a house in Grand Junction a few years ago and moved last summer after Digby retired.
“I’ve known Lena for a while,” Digby said. “I think the world of her. She does great things for tennis. She said, ‘I’ll put you to work.’
“It’s all tennis. It all comes together at some point. Don’t have the pressure and anxiety of coaching. It’s so much different running the tournament.”
Digby played in his first Western Slope Open last year, winning the men’s 4.0 doubles title with Joe Pologar.
The two are back to defend their title this year. Digby is also playing in the 4.0 singles draw.
“It’s a friendly tournament,” Digby said. “Everybody wants to win. When I played in Denver, we had some trophy hunters and guys trying to get ranked. It took the fun out of it. Here, it’s fun; more laid back.”