Playing multiple sports helped John McGrath quickly pick up the game of tennis.

The quick learner showed his stuff at the Southern California Special Olympics Fall Games in Irvine and won a gold medal in singles and a silver in doubles.

McGrath on Monday was honored as the Special Olympics Athlete of the Month at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.

John McGrath won tennis gold and silver at the Southern California Special Olympics Fall Games.

John McGrath won tennis gold and silver at the Southern California Special Olympics Fall Games. (Courtesty photo)

“Other coaches let me know he excels in many sports, from volleyball, softball, track and pickle ball. Tennis is no exception,” said Special Olympics tennis coach Liz Frech of McGrath. “When he came on, I asked about his tennis experience and he said none. ‘I’ve only done pickle ball,’ he said.

“I watched him at the first practice and said, ‘You do know something.’ He used his skills from other sports and poured them into tennis, and showed talent and court positioning, ball placement and strategy.”

McGrath won his two singles sets commandingly and captured the gold medal in his division. In doubles, he combined with David Schoettler and they took the silver medal.

Frech said McGrath works two jobs but still manages to work in sports, family and friends.

“We definitely look forward to seeing him next year,” said Frech. “He is no longer a rookie.”

Santa Barbara’s doubles team of Chris Evans and Jacob Kuhn won a silver in another division at the Fall Games. Schoettler took a silver and Kuhn a bronze in their respective singles divisions.

In addition to the medals, Frech was named the Southern California Coach of the Year in tennis.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.