Like many teenagers, University of Missouri Tennis Center Director Steven Stuckenscheider played a wealth of different sports while growing up in Mexico.
It wasn't until the 1998 grad. was forced to step away from the area that he truly chose to compete in a singular format.
"I was always a good athlete and focused on football and baseball and a little tennis until my family and I moved to Louisville, KY. in 1994 for two years before returning back to Mexico," said Stuckschneider. "The athletes in Louisville were much bigger and faster than me at the time so I decided to focus solely on tennis and my life changed because of that decision."
After high school Stuckenschneider got accepted to Columbia College prior to getting a job in Gainsville, Fl., in 2001 teaching and playing tennis. That position allowed him to build his resume' and skill set to the point that in 2003 he was hired at the Green Tennis Center in Columbia as a Tennis Professional.
"I took a break from school for almost eight years before returning to get my Bachelor’s degree in Business from Columbia College," Stuckenschneider said. "Columbia College did not have a tennis team and my focus while attending there was simply to get a degree for I did not know what I wanted to do, but knew a degree was important to have no matter my career choice. Almost 15 years later I'm the Director of Tennis for the University of MO. It's a dream job that I'm thankful for each day."
Even though the Tiger's don't currently have a men's tennis team, Stuckenscheider still has plenty to do. This includes maintaining the student courts, handling the needs of the Tennis Center's 500-plus membership and working with the Mizzou women's tennis team.
"There is no such thing as a typical day. We are the only indoor tennis facility around so if you play tennis in the winter there is a good chance I know you," said Stuckenschneider. "Working in the Southeastern Conference and competing with the likes of Georgia, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and other phenomenal tennis schools we always have a lot of things going on at one time. I like that part of the job for there is no 'normal day' for me."
One of this Mexico natives biggest accomplishments during his time with the Tigers were his contributions to renovating the Mizzou Tennis Complex according to www.mutigers.com. Completed in 2014, Stuckenscheider's role included assisting with the design and construction, as well as coordinating the building process.
"I also string rackets, own a pro shop and juggle many fun things at once. With working in higher education, getting a degree was a must. I used to not think a degree was important because I was doing great without one," Stuckenschneider said. "That was until my mentor and our athletic director at the time, Mike Alden, pushed me to think bigger and I will forever be grateful to Mike for that push. I finished my college degree thanks to Mike Alden."
While this former Bulldog has held his current position for over a decade, he didn't become a United States Professional Tennis Association certified instructor until 2002. As for his time in Mexico, that's a part of his past he has a great affinity for.
"I got into tennis with my Mexico buddies and the Mexico Gene Hill Tennis Camps that were offered at the time. I spent many hours hitting the Hardin Tennis wall when none of my friends could play," said Stuckenschneider. "Of course I was a Bulldog Varsity athlete. I played for Jim Graham from 1995-98. I realized fairly quick, though, that other than a Div. 2 scholarship, which would have been great, I didn't want to pursue that. I just chose to go to school around mid-Missouri."