Song Thao’s Farewell Letter to the SPUT Community

A Letter from the Executive Director

To the Saint Paul Urban Tennis Community,

A couple of weeks ago I enjoyed my fourth SPUT Carnival as Executive Director, celebrating the end of the summer tennis program. So many SPUT kids, their families, and Eastview neighbors and community members, played tennis and other games, ate, laughed and enjoyed being part of something so joyful. After 31 years, SPUT is stronger than ever, and I am so proud to have been a part of it.

I am sad to announce, however, that the Carnival was my last as Executive Director. I will be moving on to other opportunities on August 25, 2022. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from and to lead this great organization. I was a teenager when I stumbled across SPUT 20 years ago because I couldn’t get enough of playing tennis. But I gained so much more; SPUT taught me the values of hard work, perseverance and integrity. I am proud to say I am a SPUT Launched Leader.

I will always look for ways to support this organization as best I can. I’m proud of all the great work we accomplished together and hope you feel the same.

Best wishes and gratitude,

Song Thao, Executive Director

A Note from Saint Paul Urban Tennis Board Chair Collyn Iblings

When interviewing prospective candidates for the SPUT Executive Director position four and a half years ago, we were drawn to Song Thao’s quiet intelligence, his creativity, and his mission to work with and improve the lives of St. Paul kids.

Under Song’s tenure,

  • Eastview Rec Center grew from a nearly abandoned community center to a vibrant hub of activity with SPUT headquarters at its core
  • Funds for five new tennis courts were raised and courts were built at Eastview
  • The SPUT team grew from four full-time staff to seven positions
  • We persevered through the tough stretches of the pandemic and community unrest in 2020 and made sure all the youth and coaches who needed a job, had one with SPUT
  • We redefined the leadership pathways and employment opportunities for our youth
  • We increased our footprint in Saint Paul and solidified ourselves as one of the youth anchor organizations

For this and many more reasons, we are sad to say goodbye to Song, but endlessly grateful for the hard work and heart he put into to making Saint Paul Urban Tennis the premier organization it is.

Best wishes, Collyn Iblings Board Chair

Wish Song Good Luck on his Next Adventure

Help us say farewell to our Executive Director, Song Thao, by writing a farewell message or memory. 

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