Board of Directors


As the USA Pickleball Ambassador for Yucaipa, Diane Smith created Yucaipa Pickleball Club in February of 2018 with the help of Bob Otto, Sally Schultzman, and Diana Kriger.  It has grown into a vibrant, active, thriving club with the support of Yucaipa City Council.  Diane’s leadership skills were honed while serving 8 years on the Yucaipa City Council; she was Mayor Pro Tem for two of those years.  She has always been a champion for the youth.  She created the Yucaipa Youth Advisory Council to introduce young people to city government.  Her career as a Speech and Language Pathologist in the public schools spanned more than 30 years.  Her goal for the last 3 years has been to create a pickleball program for players under the age of 18.  She is hopeful that this dream will come to fruition during the summer of 2022 with the completion of the new dedicated pickleball courts in the Community Park.


Richard comes to us with an extensive background in non-profit corporation management.  He brings his experience and knowledge to the position of Vice President to advise us and guide us through the maze of government requirements. Richard started playing pickleball as a result of an invitation by a neighbor in October of 2019. He served as a member of our club leadership group prior to our incorporation and as a 7th Street Coordinator for a year.  He enjoys playing in pickleball tournaments. Richard managed a non-profit that specialized in working with and housing neglected, abandoned and abused children for 38 years and served on the Riverside County Foster Care Board for 12 years. He served as a Surrogate Parent for students qualifying for special education services for Yucaipa/Calimesa School District. Richard is a current Board member, Past President of Yucaipa Kiwanis Club and served as Co-chair of Kiwanis International Key Leadership program for Hawaii, California and Nevada. He serves as the current President for Yucaipa/Calimesa Family Assistance, Inc. Richard enjoys spending time with grandboys, reading, fly fishing and taco trucks. He is the father of three children, Richard, Rebeca and Veronica. He and wife Patty will be celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary this year.


Debi Hitter moved to Yucaipa in 1977 and has been involved with the community through various organizations. She was a swim coach for Yucaipa Swim Team for many years, was an active member of the Yucaipa Jr. Women’s Club, and is currently a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, a professional organization for women educators. Debi taught elementary school for 25 years in Yucaipa. She has been playing pickleball since 2018.  Debi is not only the secretary for the Board of Directors, she is a dedicated Coordinator at the Yucaipa Community Center gym, making sure that all pickleball play runs smoothly and that new players and visitors feel welcome and get into the games.


Patty is a long time member of the Yucaipa community, having moved here in 1969.  Her role as Youth Coordinator was a natural since she has been a member of the Yucaipa School Board for 26 years.  She is also serving as Tournament Director and Treasurer for the Club.  She is a Civil Engineer and owns her own business here in town. She has been playing Pickleball since 2018 and is a certified PPR Pickleball coach. 


Jeff learned the game of pickleball in February 2020 and joined  the Yucaipa Pickleball club in June of the same year. He has a sports background in tennis and racquetball.  Jeff is a PPR certified instructor and is involved in both our adult and youth instruction programs.  Jeff serves as our equipment manager as well as lead coordinator. When he’s not on the courts Jeff is very active in his local American Legion Post and volunteers at the Bob Hope USO in Ontario and March AFB supporting our active military personnel.


Dennis Banaag discovered pickleball for the first time in February 2021 right here in Yucaipa. He immediately developed a passion for the game, having played table tennis, badminton, and tennis his whole life. He was recruited for the club leadership team and became the club’s USA Pickleball rules expert. His background in developing medical laboratory protocols at Kaiser Permanente enabled him to help develop the Yucaipa Pickleball Inc. protocols. He is an avid tournament player and helps to oversee Yucaipa’s Advanced Play group. He is a PPR Certified Coach and helped develop the youth pickleball program offered during the summer of 2021.  


Sally Schultzman is one of the founders of Yucaipa pickleball.  She started playing 1/2/18 and hasn’t stopped since.  Her claim to fame is being the person who introduced both our YPI President and Vice President to the game of pickleball.  Sally served as the club’s secretary and treasurer for it’s first 4 years.  In her work life, Sally was a Preventive Care Practitioner with Kaiser Permanente specializing in lifestyle and pain management for 25+ years.  After retiring, she served 5 years on the City’s inaugural Healthy Yucaipa Committee, establishing the Uptown Stride and holding Yucaipa’s first Stick Horse Rodeo in conjunction with the Trails and Open Spaces’ Romp, Stomp & Bark event.  Sally enjoys having fun and likens pickleball to an adult playground where you meet new friends, stay fit and are happy.

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