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The Origin of the Austin Table Tennis Club

Founder - Kenneth Beauchamp (1951 ~ 2019)

The Austin Table Tennis Club origin was the remnants of the table tennis players that played at the Pan Am club. Around 1975 the Pan Am club moved to the UT campus. We were allowed to use room 302 in the Belmont building which we shared with the fencing club. We moved 8 Detroiter Table Tennis tables to the Belmont building and continued to play there until September of 1990. At that time we were told we would no longer be able to play there. A few of us got together and decided to try to find a place to start a new club. We tried recreation centers but they were all closed to the idea of table tennis in their centers. Finally Morris Leviston found us a place in a new gym (in fact it was not completed) at the Episcopal Presbyterian Church on 51st Street. We started playing there in November, 1990 and officially had the Austin Table Tennis Club sanctioned by the USATT in December of 1990. We held elections and I was voted president, Morris Leviston vice president and Paul Dodgen treasurer. I believe Todd Weiderhold was secretary.

The original roster of the club was Paul Dodgen, Todd Weiderhold, Morris Leviston, John Kim, Ron Yam, Jon Dorn, Kenneth Beauchamp, Richard Howell, Dave Edwards, Joel Hallen, Robert Paniagua and a few others, I wish I could remember all. We had a core group of around 12 to 20 players that keep coming back and eventually built up to over 30 players. The play at the church gym was fun but our equipment was poor. I had 2 old Detroiter tables and we bought and borrowed 6 used Escalade Sport tables. We held our first two tournaments on these tables and then took the money made from the tournaments, dues,and donations and bought 8 brand new Detroiter Tables for the club. We continued to play at the church gym for 2 ½ years and then conflicts caused us to lose that place to play.  

We had to find a new place to play. We tried recreation centers with no luck so Dave Edwards and myself rented 2 storage building to play in. We had 3 tables in one building and 1 table in another. We set up temporary AC and lighting. It was not real nice but it keep a core group going. Robert Paniagua found us a place to play near Manchaca called the Country Music Show Place. It was a dance floor with a bar attached. It wasn't the best place to play and was way south but the price was right , free on Tuesday nights. It  didn't have lighting so I and my crews installed florescent lights. We took 8 tables south and kept 3 north at the storage buildings. I was surprised but when most of our players would drive to CMSP every Tuesday to play and also play at the warehouses on weekends. We eventually added Thursday night at the CMSP. While we were playing here Rick Mueller joined the club (he will never ever beat me as much as I used to beat him, hee hee!).

We were playing there for a couple of months when a very important person joined the club. John Stoval joined the club and was very pivotal to the growth of the club. John rented a building on Industrial Ave in south Austin and had about 6,000 sq. ft. where he was willing to let us set up the club. The only problem was that area was full of junk. Between John, myself and my crews we turned that part of the building into what was the beginning of the club as you see it today. We installed lighting, AC , painted floors and walls. It was only dedicated to table tennis so we didn't have to take tables up and down. This was a nice change to always having to set up and take down. This also about the time Jim Story joined the club. Around 1999 we were forced to move the club and John Stoval and his business. We found a large warehouse on east MLK and the club shared it with John Stoval. Again we had to set up lights, AC, wood flooring, build walls and paint. Jim Story was very helpful in this endeavor. Also about this time John Muhich joined the club. 

 

We played at the MLK location for around 2 years when John Muhich offered to remodel part of a storage facility in north Austin for the club. The members voted to move the club at that time. That was about 2001. The club was at that facility until the new club was build. John Muhich was again the driving force. He provided location, financed the construction and did most of the labor with the help of a few club members. 

 

That about brings the club up to date. Things still continued to improve. The Austin Table Tennis club now has a new floor. Very few of the old timers are left. Most have moved away. I would like to give acknowledgement to the people that got the club going and kept it going  through the years, they are the following:

 

         Paul Dodgen

         Kenneth Beauchamp

         Jon Dorn

         John Stoval

         Dave Edwards

         Richard Howell

         Rick Mueller

         Jim Story

         John Kim

         John Muhich

         Dwight Bawcom

 

  Without these people the club wouldn't be where it is today!