Village Glen Tennis Teaching Pros



Mark Ahrens

Mark started playing tennis with his dad at the age of 5. At 11 years old, Mark was the Buffalo 12 and under Champion. He played during the summer months and was taught by Bea Mastmen, a Buffalo Tennis Hall of Fame member, along with the great Joe DiCarlo, Norm Millard (Champion Kensington High School Tennis Coach) and Bill Moncarsh, UB Tennis Coach. 

Ahrens also played baseball.  He pitched for Amherst throughout his high school career and continued playing in the Cheektowaga Classic League and the News Suburban League until his forties. 

Mark started playing USTA league tennis in his forties and continues today at 62. He has been blessed to have played with some terrific people over the years. He has played in 7 National Championships including Men's and Mixed Doubles.  “A great sport with Great People!”

His strength, as a member of the Village Glen Staff, is "Strategies of Winning in Doubles.”  Whether it is in one of his drill clinics or match plays, he continues to stress what is needed both mentally and strategically. He also stresses the point of taking lessons. Mark still takes 2 lessons a year. People ask him why? The answer is simple "With time comes bad habits.”  Attend one of Mark’s clinics and learn what it takes to be a winner!

Tom "Tommie Guns" Lapenna and Mark are still undefeated as partners at Nationals!

Rich Anderson - PTR Certified
(716) 867-6584

Rich Anderson is a PTR Certified 10 and Under Professional and Adult Indpendent Instructor.  Rich is a former Team Captain for the Canisius College Men’s Tennis Team where he played first singles and first doubles and was coached by Terry McMahon.   He has participated in numerous area tennis tournaments over the last 30 years and recently played in the USTA 55+ 8.0 League National Championships held in Surprise, Arizona in 2014.

Rich has been one of Village Glen’s High Performance and Junior Program Coaches for the past few years. He instructs adult and junior players of all levels including an advanced-level adult drill clinic and intermediate-level junior classes as well as private lessons.  Rich’s coaching experience transcends tennis as he has coached youth soccer, basketball and hockey teams for several years.


Brian Dorval - USPTA Certified
(716) 994-2842

Brian Dorval is Founding Partner and President of Think First Serve®, Inc., a management training and consulting company specializing in the use of creative-thinking, problem-solving and performance improvement methods to help groups and organizations figure out new ways to grow. Brian has over 23 years of experience helping people, teams, and organizations significantly improve their personal performance and business results.  He has delivered over 450 creative problem solving, management coaching, and performance training sessions for companies in 20 countries around the world.  He has also published over 50 articles, chapters, and books on topics related to creative thinking, problem solving and performance improvement.

In other performance-related areas, Brian is a USPTA-certified tennis professional, who specializes in the mental game. He has worked with regionally and nationally ranked junior and college tennis players, as well as adults of varying levels, to improve mental toughness and enhance performance during competition.  He conducts research on the topics of creative thinking, problem solving, mental imagery and sports performance and applies the results to help people, teams and organizations develop high-performance practices that stimulate growth and success.  Brian is also the Head Tennis Professional for Western New York’s Shining Stars adaptive tennis program for children with autism.  He holds a Masters of Science Degree in Creativity & Innovation from the International Center for Studies in Creativity, Buffalo, NY.

David Filipski

David Filipski is a USPTA certified Tennis Pro and a USTA ITA Official. He has been teaching tennis at Village Glen Tennis Club for almost 15 years. Dave is a former Head Coach of the Pembroke High School Tennis Team (10 years) where he also taught Regents History, AP History and AP Psychology (30 years).

When Village Glen ran the Summer Tennis Program at Park Country Club (2007-2010), Dave was one of the key on-site facilitators. He is currently one of Village Glen’s High Performance Program Coaches and runs many adult leagues, lessons and drill clinics.

Bryan McConnell

Bryan started taking lessons at 13 years old from Neeru Gupta where he learned the foundation of the game.  He joined the Village Glen junior program at 15 years old and started playing competitive tennis - falling in love with the game.   He trained with Tom LaPenna, Ross Nwachukwu and other great tennis pros for the rest of his junior career and throughout college tennis - and still considers Tom and Ross his coaches. 

Bryan played 1st, 2nd and 3rd singles for Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, where he quickly made a name for himself in the conference by winning the PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) Rookie of the Year.  Throughout his college career, he proved to be a key element of the team on and off the court.   After graduation, he moved back to Buffalo, NY, but still keeps in touch with friends and his coach Andy Findlay.  Bryan is married to Deanna and have a daughter together, Alaina - who might win the US Open in about 24 years. 

Today, Bryan still competes in Open level, National and Future level tournaments and is still chasing a ATP ranking.  He has worked with the Village Glen junior development program for years and also works with adults.  He enjoys passing on his experiences, new techniques/strategies in the game to juniors and adults to help them reach their full potential.  

Greatness as an athlete, is defined as maximizing your talents that you were given.  My job is to help you reach your full potential as a player. 


James McGuire

James is a former Division I head coach having led the Men’s and Women’s programs at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ. While there, James guided the Men’s team to the 2015 Northeast Conference Championship match while coaching the Northeast Conference Men’s 2015 Player of the Year.

James also has head coaching experience at Division III Elmira College in Elmira NY, having earned the Empire 8 Conference Coach of the Year for Women’s Tennis for the 2013 season. In that season James led the Women’s team to the Empire 8 Conference Tournament as the Soaring Eagles Women had their best regular season conference record ever. James also coached the 2013-2014 Elmira College Men’s team to the most wins in at least 12 seasons.

James is a 2011 graduate of Western Illinois University in Macomb Illinois, where he was the Team Captain for the 2009/2010 season, the recipient of the Art Peterson Leadership Award in 2009, and attained the Fighter First award in 2008. James also was named to the Summit League All-Academic team in 2010. Prior to transferring to Western Illinois, James also played at the University of Rhode Island where he recorded a team-best 19-10 singles record as a freshman. He also recorded 17 wins in doubles play as a sophomore.

While James now calls Buffalo home he grew up in Pittsford, NY where he was a 2006 New York First-Team All-State selection from Pittsford Sutherland High School, and a finalist in the doubles competition at the 2006 New York State High School Tennis Tournament.


Neeru Gupta - USPTR Certified

Passionate about tennis, Neeru Gupta has been teaching tennis in Buffalo area for almost 30 years. Starting in 1984 at Buffalo Racquet Club, Neeru later taught at Transit Valley Country Club. She then worked as the Head Pro at Westwood Country Club for eight years. She has been running the Tennis Program for Williamsville Community Education since 1987. Neeru has run her own Quick Start and High Performance Programs for Children and Clinics for Adults of  varying abilities at SportsPlex. Neeru has also run Buffalo-Niagara Junior Team Tennis League (JTTL) for several years.

It all started with Neeru teaching her own children, Anjeli and Anil. Both progressed to playing First Singles for Williamsville High School Teams and their College Teams. Both were ranked Top 10 in ETA and Top 128, Nationally. More recently, Thomas Navarro, Priya Bommaraju and Michael Rusk are among the students who started with Neeru as young children and have excelled.

As a competitive player, Neeru has won in MUNY’s many times. She played in USTA Women’s 4.5 League. Her Team went on to the Sectionals several times and the Nationals, once.

Neeru’s relationship with Village Glen goes back to the days of her own participation in Team Tennis and development of her children Anil and Anjeli’s tennis under Tom LaPenna and Rob Gregoire.

Neeru joined Village Glen in September 2015 as a Pro. Her extensive experience teaching students of all ages and her USPTR Certification for Ten and Under makes Neeru an extremely valuable addition to our Program.

Charlie Garfinkel, in one of his articles in the Buffalo News quoted Dennis Behr (who is well-known in Western New York for his passion for tennis), ”Neeru doesn’t just teach tennis. She takes an interest in each of her students, not just as a tennis player, but as a person. She is always positive, treats youngsters and adults with equal passion, and always goes the extra mile”.


Tom Harty

We would like to introduce and welcome Tom Harty to our staff at both Village Glen and South Towns Tennis Clubs. Tom has many years of experience coaching and playing the game at the collegiate Division 1 level.

Tom won the High School Section VI singles championship his senior year at Amherst High School. He went on to play 5th singles/3rd doubles for four years at Boston College and was team captain his senior year.  During his summers at Boston College, Tom directed the tennis program at the exclusive Cherry Hill Club.

After graduating Boston College Tom directed the program at Park Club and had the opportunity to coach in the Middle East for 7 months.

He also coached the men's varsity tennis team at Bentley College in Boston before moving on to Dartmouth College in Hanover NH where he ran the community tennis program for 4 summers.

From here, Tom went to Killington Vermont where he Directed the Cortina School’s Adult Tennis Camp for 4 years. Tom oversaw a permanent staff of 8 tennis pros during his time managing this program.

Tom is married to Mary Jewett and has two children Lucas and Sarah. 

Please welcome Tom as I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of him at both of our clubs! Tom is available for private lessons / group lessons. He will also be involved with clinics, junior and adult development programs. 



Jason Joseph - PTR, USPTA, USTA and Tennis Canada Certified

Jason is a performance-based development coach with nearly 20 years of experience coaching and managing performance tennis programming. He also has over 10 years experience managing structured 10 and Under tennis programs, working closely with national coaches in Canada for program development and delivery at Niagara Academy, a Tennis Canada recognized Tennis Development Centre. During his 20 years of coaching, Jason has worked with national and international caliber high performance players ranging from over 25 countries and spanning 5 continents, coaching players on the courts of both the USTA National Tennis Center (NTC), in New York as well as the Canadian NTC in Toronto. During his tenure at Niagara Academy, he was the manager of Physical-Technical Player Development helping over 100 high performance tennis players reach athletic scholoarships at top universities and colleges throughout the continental U.S. His coaching methodology closely reflects current, evidence-based sport-science training in tennis and is committed to advanced educational endeavors in the field of performance coaching throughout North America and Europe.

Jason enjoys playing from time to time as seen as by playing contributions to Buffalo’s Marsh Cup team since 2003 as well as being a Buffalo MUNY champion. In his spare time he enjoys long distance running, which showed in his top 10, age-based finish in the 2008 International Marathon.

For more biographical information on Jason or for updated information on player development and coach education, please visit the website:

Ross Nwachukwu
(716) 310-8484

Ross Nwachukwu grew up playing junior tennis and Men’s open tennis tournaments in the Buffalo, New York area. He finished many years ranked #1 in Western New York among all of the men’s open tennis players from 1990-2005. Ross was a two time National High School Tennis All-American in both 1989 and 1990. He was a finalist in 1989 and semi-finalist in 1990.

Ross was inducted into the Bennett High School Hall of Fame with a career tennis record of 110 wins and 5 losses.

Ross was also a four time Buffalo Municipal Men’s open Champion. Ross had an outstanding college tennis career at Drake University a Division 1 tennis program. He was an eight time Missouri Valley champion both in singles competition and also doubles competition. He amassed an incredible 273 career singles and doubles wins during his illustrious four year career at Drake. He helped Drake qualify for the NCAA championship as a team in 1992, 1993 and 1994. He also qualified for the NCAA singles championship in 1994.

Ross Nwachukwu is one of the only three former Drake Men’s tennis players to make the Missouri Valley Conference men’s tennis ALL-CENTTENIAL TEAM. In 1994, Ross earned a bachelor’s degree in business majoring in business management.

Ross went on to play numerous satellites, futures, and challenger events during his pro tennis career posting notable victories over players ranked in the top 200 in the world.

Ross was the Drake University assistant men’s tennis coach during the 1995-1996 season. He was the University of Kansas assistant men’s tennis coach for the 1999-2000 season and then became the University of Kansas head men’s tennis coach for the 2000-2001 season. Ross was also the University of Buffalo assistant women’s tennis coach for the 2002-2003 season. From 2002-2006, Ross worked at the Village Glen Tennis club as a USPTA certified tennis instructor teaching numerous private and group lessons. From 2006-2011, Ross taught tennis lessons at Sportsplex. Ross has now brought his talents back to the Village Glen and has been with the club since the summer of 2011.