Meet Chuck Sanchelli! Chuck went to St. Boniface School before attending and graduating from Central Catholic in 1969. The Sanchelli’s are an LCSS family. Chuck’s sisters, Anne Schoen and Kathi Shanahan, plus his niece and nephew, Michael and Michelle Shanahan, also attended St. Boniface and Central Catholic. While in high school, Chuck and Anne were very involved in tennis, traveling weekly to Indianapolis for training. During the summer, Chuck taught tennis for the Lafayette and West Lafayette Parks Departments. Although Chuck wanted to play tennis for Central Catholic, at the time a tennis team had not yet been formed. However, the Jeff High School tennis coach, Jack Schult, allowed Chuck to practice with the Jeff team. Finally, in his senior year, CC sponsored Chuck in the sectionals as a one-man team. “I was very proud to represent CC and managed to win a couple of matches before losing to Jeff’s top player in Sectionals. My nephew, Michael Shanahan, later played varsity tennis for CC,” said Sanchelli.
After graduating from Central Catholic, Chuck went to Purdue and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. At Purdue Chuck was able to “walk-on” the Purdue Varsity Tennis Team and enjoyed representing Purdue in Big 10 play. In 1971, Central Catholic formed the first official boys tennis team, and Chuck was extremely honored to be asked to come back to coach alongside Father Fox. “I would finish class at Purdue, then go to CC to coach the team, when the Purdue tennis team was not traveling.”
Chuck’s passion for tennis continued after college. After graduating from Purdue in 1973, Chuck accepted a job as the first Tennis Pro at the French Lick Sheraton Resort. After a year in that position, he went on the Pro Tennis Tour. He played throughout the U.S. and Canada on the USTA Satellite Circuit, which is the qualifying level just below the U.S. Open type tournaments. “While I never was able to qualify for the major pro tournaments, the experience was great.”
In 1975, Chuck moved to Texas and joined the newly formed Professional Staff with the John Newcombe Tennis Organization who operated tennis resorts around the world. Chuck was Head Pro or Manager at a variety of their facilities around the country before winding up in the Houston area with one of their clubs. He is a Certified Tennis Teaching Professional with the U.S. Professional Association and the Professional Tennis Registry and has earned an Elite Rating.
In 1979 Chuck formed his own tennis company – Fort Bend Tennis Services. The company provides tennis programs for parks and recreation programs and for public and private schools. Currently, they have over 400 students in their programs, from age 4 through adults. Chuck has also served twice as President of the Houston Tennis Association. While in that position, he helped establish the Houston Parks and Rec National Junior Tennis League (NJTL), which offers free tennis programs to area youth along with educational assistance and tutoring. Currently, that program reaches over 6,000 junior players each year at over 30 area parks. Chuck served as a Founding Pro of the Houston Professional Tennis Association and the West Houston Ladies Tennis Association, which currently has grown to over 4,000 players. During the 1990’s he was elected to serve on the U.S. Tennis Association’s Texas Section Board of Directors as a Vice-President and Treasurer. “I have been fortunate to serve on various National Committees with the U.S. Tennis Association and to represent Texas and influence the sport on a national level.” For his efforts, he received the Texas Service Award and the USTA National Service Award for contributing to the growth of Tennis in Texas and the U.S.
“These positions have allowed me the opportunity to give back. It is all about giving back for the blessings you have received. The values instilled in me by my parents and Catholic schools helped form me into who I have become. Confidence came from a feeling that we were special and not just part of the crowd. My Catholic Schools experience helped with that quiet, yet solid confidence,” said Sanchelli.
Chuck was excited to travel back to Central Catholic this summer for the groundbreaking of the new tennis courts which will be ready for play this fall.
Chuck and his wife Delinda have been married 28 years. Delinda is a life-long educator and recently was the principal of a private international school before becoming a professor at Houston Community College where she currently teaches English as a second language.
How did your education at LCSS prepare you for college and your career?
Since classes were fairly small, I was able to gain valuable experience in a variety of areas that I might not have been able to acquire in a larger school. I was able to try many different clubs, activities, and sports because if something was going to happen, it was up to us, along with the caring guidance of our teachers and faculty. I appreciated the “family” in Lafayette Catholic Schools from grade school through high school. You were expected to work hard, and that has served me well in trying new areas and opportunities. Everyone knew you and you had a responsibility to be your best and strive to practice the values of our faith.
What did you like most about your experience at LCSS?
I had many wonderful learning experiences with the LCSS. The teachers were very caring and motivating. Imagine being able to be among the first to use a thing called a teletype machine and learn computer programing in this new concept called a computer with access to Purdue’s new Computer Science Department. We were ahead of most schools in Indiana. Coming back after graduating to coach the tennis team with Father Fox was very special as we tried to teach the boys to play tennis and possibly win a few matches. And of course, making lifelong friends.
What is your favorite memory from your years at LCSS?
A number of favorite memories come to mind. Of course, representing CC in the tennis sectionals and coming back to coach the tennis team. The Lance trips to pick up the new yearbooks in St. Louis. Those trips were a bonding experience with a special group of friends and a teacher, Fr. Loner, who made it fun and educational. At that time, it was a special trip to travel outside of Lafayette. Now it is wonderful that students get to travel the U.S. and the world and gain even more life-enriching experiences with school trips. Also special was being part of the first CC High School Band, under the direction of Robert McCuaig, a musical genius. I was the tuba player in the band and its first president. The many lifelong friends who you knew from grade school through high school is with me forever.