Ben Johns and students in the University of Maryland Pickleball Club smiling with their arms around each other.
Ben Johns and University of Maryland Pickleball Club members. Major League Pickleball

Leaving a legacy: Ben Johns connects with UMD Pickleball Club

DALLAS, TX – Ben Johns wasn’t only hitting the engineering textbooks and playing pickleball during his college years at the University of Maryland.

He actually laid the foundation for something rather special by founding the UMD Pickleball Club in 2017.

Following a Carolina Pickleball Club match at MLP D.C. on Friday, Johns held a meet-and-greet with UMD Pickleball Club members to connect with members and see first-hand how the entity has grown since graduation.

“The first time I ran a meeting, there were like six people who showed up,” Johns told the students in attendance.

“We’re now at 120 members,” shared club member Alyssa Orlando. “It’s amazing to see how much it's grown.”

Ben Johns smiling and talking with the pickleball club students
Ben Johns at the UMD Pickleball Club meet-and-greet. Major League Pickleball

Not only did UMD students have the opportunity to chat with the top male player in the world, they also watched the pros compete in the second event of the MLP season. 

“The most exciting thing about today was seeing a professional pickleball match live. I’ve never seen one before. It was a great experience,” said Muhammad Ramamni, the Vice President of the UMD Pickleball Club.

New club member Kathryn Lawless also spoke to Johns about their mutual appreciation for engineering.

“We got to relate over both being engineering majors, so he gave me some advice that was really helpful,” praised Lawless. “I'm new to pickleball, and seeing where the club came from just makes me more excited to learn more and get better.”

Not many collegiate clubs can boast that their founding member is a pro - let alone the most decorated pro on the planet. 

That’s something to be especially proud of. 

“Ben Johns founded our pickleball club, and now he’s the best pickleball player in the world,” added Ramamni. 

That's a remarkable legacy that deserves to be celebrated.