Gordon Kaye, New USATT CEO, Competes and Talks Table Tennis at 2014 Butterfly Badger Open
On September 19, 2014 USA Table Tennis announced the hiring of its new CEO Gordon Kaye. Today, Gordon Kaye is present at the 2014 Butterfly Badger Open to both compete and meet table tennis players from across the Midwest. Butterfly held an exclusive interview with the new CEO to discuss his past, current and future table tennis experiences and goals.
How did you become so passionate about table tennis?
In 2008, I was involved with managing professional hockey players, and decided to buy a table tennis table for the locker room. I thought it was so neat to see all of those professional hockey athletes playing. I also joined in and played enough that I thought I was “really good”. One of my friends then took me to a club, and I lost to an 85 year old guy. I then started playing more and participating in tournaments. I believe I found table tennis through my exceptional club experience. I was able to find people I had something in common with and also meet so many new individuals.
Why are you here today at the 2014 Butterfly Badger Open?
When I lived in Rockford, Illinois, I would always come and play this tournament. In fact, this year is my 4th time! I’m here to compete and support table tennis in the Midwest, and also to meet USATT members. We only have 8,000 USATT members, but there may be over 17 million players in the US. I’m here to listen to people, and learn more about their table tennis and club experience.
What plans can you share with us for the future of USA Table Tennis?
I was personally really empowered by my club experience, and I want as many table tennis players in the US to discover the world of the sport beyond their basements. Although I cannot share all of my ideas, I did want to comment on a few things.
I think we are at a pivotal time in American table tennis. Mainstream media has really started picking up our sport, and it is up to USA Table Tennis to make sure we provide value to our members, clubs and stakeholders. We need to do certain things very well, make small changes that lead to bigger ones. I was personally really fortunate to find table tennis through my club experience, and I am focused on improving that for new members. Going to a club can be intimidating for a recreational player, and I want to ease that transition.
Continual coverage of the 2014 Butterfly Badger Open and stories about the athletes will be available at butterflyonline.com, or via Butterfly North America’s twitter and facebook pages.