Stephanie Sisak loves a challenge. The Hazlet, N.J., native works as a full-time visiting professor teaching corporate finance at the University’s Williams College of Business, operates her own real estate inspection firm in Texas and New Mexico, and is an avid world traveler, golfer, real-estate investor and Musketeer basketball fan. Her most recent adventure began last year, when Sisak became a center court announcer for the annual ATP Tournament at Kings Island.
“My sister loves men’s tennis,” Sisak explains. “I’ve lived in Cincinnati for going on 13 years, and every year she comes to spend a week and we go up to Mason for the ATP tournament. Well, I had a dinner party, and I started talking tennis with one of the guests because he’s been volunteering at the tournament for 30 years. He said, ‘If you love the tournament so much, why don’t you come and volunteer?’ ”
Sisak enquired about the available volunteer positions and was surprised at the answer. “He said ‘There are two things you could do,’ ” she recalls. “ ‘One, you could be in the press box and make sure the journalists have all the information they need about the matches and that they get to the press conferences afterward, or you can be the center court announcer.’ I said ‘Sign me up. I’m there. Why not?’ ”
The women’s tournament takes place before the men’s tournament each summer. So Sisak went up for the women’s tournament and wound up doing all of the center court matches. “I did it the first day, and it was working very well,” she recalls. “I was excited about it. I just got the bug. I did the entire women’s tournament and they said ‘Hey, would you like to come back and try a couple days on the men’s tournament?’ I wasn’t supposed to do it; that’s been around a lot longer, and they have established people to do it. I got to do two days during the men’s tournament, one of which was the quarterfinals.”
As the tournament progressed, Sisak felt the excitement level and the media attention building. “Your position as the announcer is on the court right behind where the players sit,” she says. “It’s the best seat in the house. You can’t pay for tickets that good. As we got to the later matches, ESPN was involved, and you have all the cameras down there and you need to coordinate with the TV guys and everything else going on. It was like summer camp.”
“I have never done anything like this before. It’s exciting. Because my sister is such a fan, I’ve been following the players for years. To be that close to them, you really get to hear all of the interactions on court that you normally don’t get to hear on TV. “It’s almost like being an insider at the party you’ve been watching over the fence for a long time.”
Now that she’s been invited to the party, Sisak has no plans to leave any time soon. “It will be an ongoing thing,” she says. “I’m going to be doing it again this summer, and as long as they’ll have me, I’ll continue to do it.”
Not one to sit still, Sisak is also mulling over other announcing-related possibilities—maybe voiceovers for commercials. She’s even considering going to a vocal coach. “I’m a jack-of-all trades,” she says. “I’m always looking for different opportunities. Who knows?”