Kind of a Big Dill

This pickleball prodigy’s journey from finance to the courts is a power play.

Connor Garnett Top Stories 17
Connor Garnett ’19 has traded in a career in finance to go pro in pickleball. Photo courtesy Leavy School of Business.

Business and pickleball: a merger of two passions, just likely not the kind Connor Garnett 19 learned about as a finance major at Leavey School of Business. The former Santa Clara tennis star was working as an investment banking analyst in April 2022 when he picked up a paddle and tried the fastest-growing sport in America for the first time.

With 72 SCU men’s singles tennis wins under his belt, Garnett took to pickleball quickly. “I realized I was good enough to get some people believing in me, get some sponsorships, and give it a whirl,” he says.

Less than a year later, Garnett left his job to join the PPA Tour as a professional athlete. He’s known for “the twoey,” a two-hand backhand move in tennis that has differentiated him in the pickleball world. Now he’s selling “twoey” merch and posting on YouTube, while having recently won a singles title at an L.A. tournament to reach his current No. 3 ranking.

“My vision is to continue growing as a player and become the number one singles player and a top doubles player, as well,” he says. “But I also want to really brand myself well so I’m able to make it a lasting career beyond playing.”

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S. Isabel Choi J.D. ’02 planned on becoming a judge. Now she’s an author with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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