Tom Burkhart, born in West Virginia and raised in Texas, moved to Louisiana in 1963.  He graduated from Louisiana Tech University and spent 38 years in the public schools of Louisiana as a coach, teacher and middle school principal before retiring in 2006.


Tom’s experience with pickleball began in 1980 when he arrived at a new middle school teaching/coaching assignment and found a box of pickleball equipment that had never been opened.  He opened the box, studied the rules, introduced the game to the physical education department, and taught the game to middle school students for the next 17 years.


In 2005, Tom read in an area newspaper about a group who were playing pickleball less than ½-mile from his home in Baton Rouge. He joined the group and began playing four times a week and was soon participating in tournaments.  He became a USAPA member in 2006 and an Ambassador in 2007.


Tom has two daughters who are educators, two stepsons, and four grandchildren.  He and his wife Susan (a non-playing, die-hard “pickleball groupie”) enjoy international travel and traveling the USA in their motor coach. He is an avid photographer and LSU sports fan.  In addition to pickelball, Tom is a member of two bowling leagues and plays table tennis.


He sits on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Senior Olympic Games where he chairs the Competition & Games Committee.  He is a part-time employee of BREC (Baton Rouge Recreation Department) working exclusively with pickleball.