Perseverance has yielded an unprecedented partnership.  The Owensboro Daviess County Tennis Association and the City of Owensboro have combined efforts to make a long-time vision of a new indoor tennis facility a reality. Centre Court opened in April of 2015, featuring six indoor courts and nine outdoor courts. The massive tennis facility is nestled in the sports complex at Russell Shifley Park off Bittel Road—visible from the Bypass.

“I believe we will have a healthier community with our new tennis facility; that’s one of the reasons we were able to raise the money we’ve raised,” said Noel Clayton, who has been instrumental in the entire project. The initial idea began 8-10 years ago with a nucleus of three avid tennis players:  Noel, Norman Woodward and Phil Clark. After a series of failed attempts and multiple proposed locations, the project gained traction when Mayor Ron Payne agreed to match $500,000 raised by ODCTA in donations to build the indoor complex.  In the end, the City contributed $1 million and land for the project; ODCTA raised the initial $500,000 down payment and financed a $1.2 million bond (secured by the City); the County contributed $100,000 and individual donations continue to roll in.

Strong motivation for seeing such a large project to fruition came from the desire to remember Luke Woodward, an exceptional young man and 1995 Doubles State Champion, who died of a brain aneurism his senior year of law school. Much good can come from bad. One of the six courts will be named in his honor. Ashley and Max Lile, whose 1-year-old son is Luke’s namesake, met at Luke’s funeral. Ashley was in law school with Luke; Max had worked tennis camps at the Hamptons in New York with Luke. The couple gladly accepted the challenge to raise $50,000 needed for the court naming.


Noel Clayton
(270) 925-5520

USPTA Certified Teaching Professional, USPTR Certified Teaching Professional with certification in 10 and Under, 11 to 17 and Adult Development
Tennis Industry Association Authorized Cardio Provider
High School tennis coach for 16 years with players earning 11 All State Awards, 10 Regional Championships, Female Player of the Year, and 1 Doubles State Championship 
Founding Member of the Kentucky High School Tennis Coaches Association
Owensboro Daviess County Tennis Association Board Member 
USTA KY Raise a Racquet Foundation Board Member
Junior Team Tennis Coordinator for 10 years