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About Us Learn About Ozark Tennis Club
Ozarks Table Tennis Club was established in 1971 by Dave Zapatka. We are dedicated to helping beginner and intermediate players play better thorugh lessons, open play times, and by staging local, regional and national tournaments. The facility we use is the O’Reilly Tefft Gymnasium at 1408 E. Pythian St, in Springfield, Missouri. This facility is handicap accessible, has great lighting and is climate controlled. Come out and see us, or drop us a line on our contact form if you have any questions.
Where: O’Reilly-Tefft gymnasium 1408 E. Pythian Street.
When: Sunday afternoons from 1:30 to 5:30 pm. Singles usually played first then doubles.
Why: For fun, exercise, meet-n-greet, see new players and challenge any style.
Cost: $4 for those 16 and over – Free to those 15 and younger.
Tables: Club utilizes 12 French made 1″ Cornilleau 740 light blue tables.
Affiliation: No membership dues or fees
Our History Read Our Story
Club originated as GOTTA – Greater Ozarks Table Tennis Association - and was started in the fall of 1971 by Dave Zapatka while a student at Southwest Missouri State University. The club played in a building at 2006 N. National Avenue. There were two leagues: one commercial and one university. The commercial league consisted of City Utilities, The Elk’s Lodge and the Forsythe Table Tennis Club. The Forsythe Club was run by Jack Harrison a longtime player from Kansas City. The university league consisted of: Baptist Bible College, Central Bible College, Drury University, Evangel University and SMSU. Stan Morest was a member of the commercial club and from 1938 to 1939 was the president of the USTTA … (United States Table Tennis Association as it was then known).
From 1975 to 1982 Stan Morest was also an associate editor of the USTTA’s monthly magazine and contributed on various topics. GOTTA then closed its doors in February of 1975. Zapatka owned Z Tech Corporation before moving out of the area in 2003. Table tennis was inactive through the 1980’s before being revitalized by Hugh Mason in 1993. Those players, who were still active in table tennis, received a significant boost when a club was formed called “Ozarks Table Tennis Club”. The club was further bolstered when it achieved USATT accreditation and chartering through the guidance of Mason. The club subsequently relocated to Wesley United Methodist Church on Republic Road from 1993 to 2001. OTTC sponsored two sanctioned tourneys during this eight year period, one by Ted Murphy from Ozark, Mo, in 1997, which garnered 24 players and one by Bill Lewis from Brookline, Mo, in 2001, which garnered 27 players. The first event was won by Jeff Williams from Springfield and the latter by Rick Seiler from St. Louis. Lewis was then elected President and he began an affiliation with Springfield Parks & Recreation relocating to the O’Reilly-Tefft gymnasium at 1408 E. Pythian Street in 2002.
Since 2001 Ozarks Table Tennis Club has staged 37 USATT sanctioned tournaments; eight non-sanctioned tourneys and six “mini” tournaments for a grand total of 51. Forty-three of these tournaments were held at O’Reilly-Tefft gymnasium; five held at Baptist Bible College; two held at Central Bible College; and one held at Parkview High School. There have been 2061 players, $51,695 in payouts and several thousand matches played.
Eminent players who’ve played in Springfield: Eric Owens, 2003 USA National champion; Mark Hazinski, world rated #367; Choor Sime Oh (Malaysia) world rated #536; Alfred Najem (Lebanon) world rated #602; Paulo Rocha (Brazil) world rated #633; Fernando Yamazato (Brazil) world rated #682; Venkat Ramesh (India) world rated #725; and Joey Cochran world rated #1138.
Notable Springfield champions: Alfred Najem ‘5 times’; Parviz Mojaverian, Overland Park, KS ‘4 times’ and Richard Martin, Kansas City, MO ‘3 times’. Springfield is a recognized leader in table tennis in both Missouri and the mid-West.