Hall of Fame
Class of 2013
Class of 2012
John Peterson was born in Omaha, Nebraska. He attended Buena Vista College and received a Bachelor of the Arts in English. His coaches include Van Philips and John Naughton.
He first played tennis in the summer of 1968. The tennis courts were next to the football practice facility where he had been coaching. The tennis players looked like they were having fun. He played tennis and was hooked from the start. He was drafted into coaching tennis in the winter of 1975-1976. In addition to being the football, basketball and track coach, he became the tennis coach at Nimitz Middle School in San Antonio.
His greatest tennis accomplishment is making friendships through tennis that have lasted throughout the years. His favorite memories are of taking students to championships in middle school and junior college.
In his spare time, he enjoys reading, bicycling, backpacking and climbing. His wife is Dorothy Peterson, and he has two children, Angela and Wyatt.
Jack Sampson was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1891 and was an accomplished football player under legendary University of Chicago coach Amos Alonzo Stagg. After college, Jack took up tennis as a lifetime sport and became an accomplished player and coach of his two daughters, Jeannie and Jayne.
As Jeannie Kamrath’s father, Jack was asked to move to Houston to live with the Kamraths and to begin running the fledgling Houston Tennis Patrons in 1952 to promote tennis, tournaments for all age groups, good sportsmanship and junior tennis throughout Houston. His achievements to introduce tennis to all income levels through free tennis clinics at city parks and schools had never before been accomplished in Houston. He also help develop highly ranked Houston junior tennis players resulting in Houston having more nationally ranked players in 1961 than any other American city. Jack was the leader behind the City of Houston building three new tennis centers between 1959 and 1970 at Memorial Park, Homer Ford Tennis Center and Lee LeClear Tennis Center.
Sampson also brought the Jack Kramer Pro Tennis Circuit to Houston for many years in the 1950’s and 1960’s to expose Houstonians to top level pro tennis.
The Houston Tennis Patrons became the Houston Tennis Association and periodically awards the J. J. Sampson Tennis Service Award to deserving Houston individuals who have exemplified the kind of unselfish dedication, work and service to promote and grow the game of tennis in the Houston area. His seventeen years of voluntary service was instrumental in Houston becoming one of the nation’s truly great tennis cities in America.
Jeannie Sampson was born in 1912 in Chicago, Illinois and learned to play tennis with the coaching of her father, Jack Sampson. She became the top ranked Mid-Western player in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s and met her future husband, Karl Kamrath, on the mid west tennis circuit. After extensive tennis travel to the East including the ladies’ nationals at Forest Hills, she traveled to Austin, Texas to attend UT where she was invited to play on the men’s varsity courts by Dr. Penick because ‘of the force and severity of her groundstrokes’---the first woman player to be so invited.
Jeannie played in the first, then, Houston Tennis Invitational Tournament in 1931 at River Oaks. She reached the finals of that tournament in 1932, 1933 and 1934 and with husband, Karl, help recruit America’s top amateurs to the fledgling tournament including Bitsy Grant, Ellsworth Vines, Frankie Parker, and George Lott.
Upon moving to Houston in 1937, Jeannie immediately became the first teaching tennis professional at both the Houston and River Oaks Country Clubs and began teaching both members and juniors at both clubs until she and her family moved to Fort Sam Houston during the war. While teaching the fundamentals of footwork and racket preparation, she was particularly interested in stressing the value of the game of tennis to build character, sportsmanship and fair play to help build good citizens for America.
After 1945, Jeannie resumed her interest in the River Oaks Invitational by helping to bring top amateurs to the tournament and helped to promote players being invited to stay the week in members’ homes—a great River Oaks tradition that continues to this day.
Jeannie was the behind-the-scenes mover and shaker in pushing for establishing The Houston Tennis Patrons in 1951 and persuading her father, Jack Sampson, to move to Houston from Chicago to establish an office and run this organization as a volunteer for the next 17 years. With Jack Sampson, she initiated the first, free city wide tennis clinics at park tennis courts throughout Houston playing tennis exhibitions with Gladys Heldman, Hugh Sweeney, Peggy Startzman and other Houston tennis enthusiasts. Jeannie still enjoys watching tennis and on December 29th, will celebrate her 100th birthday in Houston!
Hugh Sweeney was born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1928. Though he was born in Louisiana, he spent all of his life after high school in Texas. He attended Byrd High School in Shreveport, Louisiana. Then he went to college at the University of Houston. His coaches include Bob Nesmith of Houston, TX and John Hoff of Houston, TX. He began playing tennis as a teenager and continued at Memorial Park in Houston.
Some of his greatest tennis accomplishments included: qualifying for and playing in the Wimbledon Championships and the U. S. National Championships, winning the championships in the “Big Three” in the same year which consisted of the Houston Open, the Fall Festival, and the TAAF Championships, and being able to play and be successful on the International Tennis Circuit, both in the United States and abroad.
His most meaningful tennis memories included: playing in Wimbledon and the U.S. Open several times, traveling with top players from around the world and making many new friends from around the world while playing in the International Tennis Circuit.
Hugh brought the Virginia Slims Tournament to Houston and built the “Net Set Racquet Club” known today as the “Westside Tennis Club”. Teaming up with Lamar Hunt, he brought the WCT end of year championships to Houston, which leads up to the WCT finals in Dallas. He was the owner of the “Houston Angels” World Championship women’s basketball team of the WBL. The WBL preceded the WNBA. Hugh also brought top-flight “high goal polo” to Houston and promoted it successfully for many years. He is survived by a nephew, Pat Fincannon.
Class of 2011
Born: April 26, 1910
Place of Birth: Ft. Worth, Texas
Schools: Central High School (Fort Worth) - later became Paschal High School
Colleges: Rice Institute/University
Names of Family members: Mae Johnson Connelley (wife) - died 2003, Pepper Connelley Anderson (daughter), Ginger Connelley Wright (daughter), Gwen Connelley Stafford (daughter)
How did you begin playing or teaching tennis: Started playing tennis at 11-12 years of age by observing others and by playing with a friend; practiced tennis by hitting balls against the garage door at his home. Began teaching tennis at Kincaid (Houston) and Prairie View A&M.
Greatest tennis accomplishments: Men's Singles Champion, TAAF (Texas Amateur Athletic Federation) - 1932; Varsity Tennis Coach, Rice - 1934-1954; Team won Southwest Conference Championship 19 of 20 years; Coach of NCAA Singles and Doubles Champions.
Most meaningful tennis memories: Playing tennis at River Oaks in Houston, Forest Hills (New York) and Greenbriar (West Virginia); teaching tennis at Kincaid and Prairie View A&M.
Activities and interests: Officiating Southwest Conference football, hunting
Born: August 7, 1939
Palce of Birth: Olney, Illinois
Schools: East Richland High School (Olney, Illinois)
College(s): Rose Hulman Institute, Terre Haute, Indiana (BSME), University of Illinois (MBA)
Family: Anita Landenberger (wife), Christina Schuh (daughter), Beth Price (daughter), Ellen Oliver (daughter)
Grandchild: Alessandra Bey
How did you begin playing or teaching tennis? Began playing tennis at age 14 with friends at the Park Courts; started teaching tennis upon arrival in Texas; realized strength of studying and implementing available information; joined USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association).
Greatest tennis accomplishments: State high school doubles finalist with long-time friend and doubles partner Dick King; ranked #1 in the USTA Texas Section 15 times; ranked in top ten nationally 19 times; represented United States in World Championships in England, South Africa and Turkey; assisted youngsters in improving their tennis games.
Most meaningful tennis memories: My father accompanied me when I played in a National 35s event at Forest Hills, NY; special relationships created through the tennis community; participation at the U.S. Military competition culminating at West Point; driving home from a Texas tournament with the top down and a trophy in the front seat.
Activities and interests: Family activities, especially grand parenting
Born: February 19, 1943
Place of Birth: Lake Charles, Louisiana
Schools: W. B. Ray High School (Corpus Christi), Cuero High School, Mary Carroll High School (Corpus Christi)
Colleges: University of Houston
Names of Family members: Loyce Woods (wife), Russell Woods (son), Ronald Baumgardner (stepson), Rebecca Baumgardner Cleveland (stepdaughter)
How did you begin playing or teaching tennis: Introduced to tennis by Coach Mary K. Wright during 7th Grade year at Wynn Seale Junior High School (Corpus Christi); while attending the University of Houston, started teaching tennis during summers at H.E.B. Tennis Center (Corpus Christi) under Bob Mapes; after leaving University of Houston, continued to teach tennis for four years at H.E.B. as Assistant Professional.
Greatest tennis accomplishments: Working with Loyce in directing the tennis program at Corpus Christi Country Club for 31 years; also serving as the Executive Director of the United States Tennis Professional Association (USPTA) Texas Division during the time it garnered six straight National USPTA Division of the Year Awards; elected offices included President of the Corpus Christi Tennis Association, President of the USPTA Texas Division and President of the National USPTA; in addition, one of my greatest thrills was being named 2010 USPTA Tennis Professional of the Year and earning USPTA Master Professional status during the same year.
Most meaningful tennis memories: Special memories of playing tennis tournaments with Loyce; watching my kids play tennis and working with children and adults in my tennis programs; playing tennis as a junior in Texas and in playing at the University of Houston; and, playing at the River Oaks Championships (Houston) with my good friend and roommate, Gene Peebles, in doubles matches against Chuck McKinley and Frank Froehling and Raphael Osuna and Tony Palafox (#1 doubles team in the world at the time).
Activities and interests: Golf, fishing, hunting, yard work, photography
Class of 2010
Samuel (Sammy) Antone Giammalva, Jr.
Born: March 24, 1963
Place of Birth: Houston, Texas
Schools: FROSTWOOD Elementary; Memorial Middle School; Memorial High School; Alexander Smith Academy
Names of Family members: Toni Lynn Giammalva (wife), Sammi Gimmalva III (son); Ana Giammalva (daughter); Catherine Gimmalva (daughter)
How did you begin playing or teaching tennis: Father – Sammi Giammalva, Sr.
Greatest tennis accomplishments: National Boy’s 18 Singles Champion – Kalamazoo, MI; Ranked in world’s top 30 tennis players; Owner of tennis club in Spring, TX (since 2000).
Most meaningful tennis memories: Winning the National Boys 18 Singles Championship; Playing in first professional tennis tournament (River Oaks) in hometown of Houston, TX.
Activities and interests: Most outdoor activities
Born: March 7, 1970
Place of Birth: Amarillo, Texas
Schools: Taslosa High School
Colleges: Stanford University
Degree: Bachelor of Science
Names of Family members: Bill, Alice, Blake, Katherine
Coaches: Dennis Crowell, Jon Soegard, Dick Gould, Keith Diepram, Jonathan Canter
How did you begin playing or teaching tennis: Older brother Blake O’Brien played and Alex looked up to him.
Greatest tennis accomplishments: World’s # 1 Ranking in Men’s Doubles; US Open Men’s Doubles Champion; Member US Davis Cup Team; Participant in US Olympics in Sydney, Australia; New Haven Men’s Singles Champion.
Most meaningful tennis memories: World Champions in Men’s Doubles; Texas Tennis – Ben Ball; Stanford University Men’s Collegiate Tennis – Dick Gould; Winning US Open Men’s Doubles; Boy’s 18 Singles Clay Courts.
Activities and interests: Banking, reading, golf, squash, basketball
Martha “Marti” Eileen Rodriguez
Born: May 13, 1948
Place of Birth: Austin, Texas
Schools: New Braunfels High School
Colleges: UT Austin, UT Arlington, University of North Texas
Degree: BA History, Texas Teaching Certificate.
Names of Family members: Husband, COL Frank Rodriguez, Jr., US Army, Retired, Sons: Frank Justin Rodriguez and Jameson Carl Rodriguez.
How Marti began playing or teaching tennis: She only played recreational tennis. Marti got her start when she joined the staff at the Texas Tennis Association in October, 1983.
Greatest tennis accomplishments: Marti would be very proud of the tennis tournament held in her name (The Annual Marti Rodriguez Memorial-Austin ZAT) and the perpetual scholarship fund administered by the Texas Tennis and Education Foundation.
Most meaningful tennis memories: Marti treasured the days when she helped with tournaments and got the chance to watch young people take up the game she loved so much.
Activities and interests: Reading, playing the piano and pilates.
Class of 2009
Lee Hamilton was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated from Arundel High school in Gambrills, Maryland. He received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Bucknell University and his master's of business administration from the University of Pittsburgh. He has lived throughout the continental United States and Europe but settled in Texas in 1989. He began playing tennis two to three times a week prior to 1969 and continued to play with his wife Molly in inter-club league play and then in tournaments.
He has served as the President of the Community Tennis Associations in both Houston and Dallas, which enabled him to be directly involved at the grass-roots level. He served as the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for the USTA for five years, during which time a significant number of positive measures were initiated to help the growth of the game.
Lee has been ranked as high as #2 in Texas in singles four times and #10 nationally in his age division. He was ranked in doubles as high as #1 in Texas in two age divisions simultaneously and #2 nationally in his age division. He enjoys playing multigenerational (three generations) tennis at his family's gatherings, making his annual trek to Newk's Tennis Ranch, being on the scene for the 2007 Davis Cup win, and playing against tennis legends including Rod Laver, Fred Stollem Roscoe Tanner, Dick Stockton, and Cliff Drysdale.
Lee has been married to his wife, Molly, for over 50 years and they have three sons and daughter-in-laws, and seven grandchildren including Carly, Kelly, Chase, Trevor, Jane, Lucy, and Warren.
Harriett Peterson Hulbert
Harriett Peterson Hulbert is considered by many to be one of the most influential women in the Texas community tennis family. She was born in Chicago, Illinois and she received her bachelor's degree from Northwestern University in biology. Harriett began playing tennis in Wichita, Kansas in the late 1960's but it wasn't until her husband and family would move to Houston that she would join the Houston Racquet Club and begin her life long service to the game.
In the mid 1970's the Houston Tennis Association recruited many volunteers and Harriett was a perfect match. While raising her four children, she began her lengthy tenure with the HTA by volunteering to run junior tournament sites and serving as the President for two years. In 1984, she would accept the position of assistant executive director, a position she would continue to hold until 1986 when she assumed full responsibility for the HTA as its Executive Director, a position she would hold until her retirement in 2007. Harriett has also served the Texas Tennis Association for twenty plus years and has received numerous awards including the HTA Sampson award, W. T. Caswell award, Tournament Director of the Year and Lifetime Achievement award from the USTA – Texas Section. Currently, Harriett is a member of the Texas Section Awards Committee and the Junior Tennis Council, as well as, a certified USTA umpire and referee.
Jeff Moore has mentored and coached young people since he began his career in 1974. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Moore was a tri-sport athlete in high school and continued his path to tennis in his junior year. He received his bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Redlands in 1974 and went on to receive his masters in education in 1990 from the University of Texas. It was at his alma mater that he would begin his coaching career due to his mentor and coach, Jim Verdieck. He has coached for University of Redlands, University of Colorado, and University of Texas. At the University of Texas, he would leave his permanent mark on the women's tennis program and help them achieve 23 straight NCAA appearances, 20 NCAA Top Ten Teams, 3 NCAA Final Four Teams, 2 NCAA Finalists Teams, and 2 NCAA Championship Teams. His team won seven Big 12 Conference seasons championships, seven Big 12 conference tournament titles, eleven Southwest Conference season championship, and nine Southwest Conference tournament titles. His players have earned forty-four All-American honors, ten Academic All –American honors and forty-four All-American Conference honors under his guidance and support.
He has been involved with the ITA board of directors, NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Committee chair, NCAA Women's Tennis Committee chair and has been a speaker and presenter for the USTA, USPTA, USPTR, and ITA events. He has received the Conference Coach of the Year 10 times, Southwest Conference Coach of the Year 6 times, National Coach of the Year in 1993 and University of Texas Hall of Honors recipient in 2002.
He and his wife, Lucy, are the parents of two sons, Tim and Andy and his interests include basketball, reading and watching his sons grow up.
Class of 2008
Rhoss C. Lomax
Rhoss C. Lomax was born in Laurel, Mississippi and has been involved in tennis since the early age of 13. After high school, he attended Tulane University on a tennis scholarship(1952-56) and was ranked in the Southern Section as a junior. While at Tulane he won three singles and doubles championships. Upon graduation from Tulane, he chose the Army as a career where he served for 33 years reaching the rank of Brigadier General. He continued to compete during his his years of service at the local and state level, and retired from the Army in 1989.
Buddy began competing at a national level in 1994, reaching #4 nationally and winning the National Men's 60 Indoor Doubles Championship. He also won the National Men's 60 Hardcourt Championship in 1997 and has competed in the Von Cramm Cup and USA Brittannia Cup. He has been ranked #1 in singles in each of the age groups; Open, 35, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65 and was a finalist in 2004 for the National Men's Indoor Championship. He has been selected five times to represent the United States in the ITF Cup Championship, and was ranked #1 in the National Men's category in 2004.
Rick Meyers was born in Abilene, Texas, on May 14, 1958 as the son of Bitsy Meyers and the late Frank Meyers He began playing tennis as a family activity with brothers Chip, Mike, Scott & David and sister Merlaine. While At Cooper High School in Abilene, he was inspired to teach tennis by his Coach and Mentor, Ike Groce. Coach Groce had asked a few of the good players to teach teammates due to a shortage of tennis courts. Later, Rick won the 5A State singles in 1976 63-0, which is still a UIL record.
Mr. Meyers attended Texas Christian University, where he earned a B.A. degree in Marketing with a minor in Speech Communications. While at TCU, he was All-Southwest Conference for 4 years. After turning pro, he played in all 4 grand slam tournaments. Previously he had formed a pro tennis tournament event, in Abilene, that brought such players as Andre Agassi and Jim Courier to their community As a volunteer in the Texas Tennis Association and USTA, he went on to help form the current Texas Junior tournament format and ranking system.
For the past 12 years, he has written a weekly tennis column for the Abilene Reporter News.
He enjoys teaching young children about tennis and seeing mature into good players and good citizens. He also enjoys fly-fishing, bird hunting and backpacking in the Rocky Mountains.
Class of 2007
Chuck LeMaster was born February 2, 1928 in Barnetts Creek, Kentucky. In college, he began playing tennis but it was his move to Houston, Texas in 1951 that would solidify his life long love of the sport. In that same year, he became a charter member of the Houston Tennis Patrons Assoc., which would later become the Houston Tennis Association. He played tennis on the Memorial Park Courts and became an active member in their Tennis Association. He co-founded the Houston Tennis Umpires Association and worked with his wife on the Husband and Wife Tennis Tournament, which is now known as the HTA/Le Master Husband and Wife Tennis Tournament. He has served on the Board of the HTA and has served as a liaison between the TTA and the junior tennis coaches. In 1999, he and his partners' were ranked #1 and #2 in the 70 Doubles and with one partner was ranked #11 nationally. He also won the bronze ball in 2004 for Men's 75 Doubles. In Texas, he was ranked either #2 or #3 from 2003-2005 in Men's 75 Singles. At this time, under the "12 month rolling standing" guidelines, he is ranked # 1 in Men's 75 Doubles in Texas; a plateau he attained while playing with three different partners. He has dedicated his time to promoting and enhancing the players and tournaments in Houston, Texas.
George P. Mitchell
George P. Mitchell was born May 21, 1919 in Galveston, Texas, became interested in tennis at an early age, and began competing in local and regional tournaments in Galveston. He was the captain of Texas A & M tennis team his senior year and graduated in 1940 with a degree in Petroleum Engineering. After the war, he and his wife Cynthia settled in Houston and he began his career, founding George Mitchell and Associates, Inc. in 1946. He continued playing the game regularly in both singles and doubles in Houston and competing in the Gordon Cup, the USTA National Grass Courts, and other tournaments in Houston and Texas. For more than twenty years, he volunteered for the Houston Tennis Patrons and the Houston Tennis Association. He also founded and developed the Houston Racquet Club in 1969, the Woodlands Racquet Club in 1975, and the Texas A&M's George P. Mitchell Tennis Center, which received the USTA Tennis Award in 1999 for top tennis center in the country and hosted the NCAA tennis championships in 2005. He is a devoted tennis player, a civic leader in Texas, and a major contributor to Texas Tennis and its future.
Barbara Smith was born on July 20 in McAllen, Texas and she received her Bachelor's of Art from the University of Texas were she studied in the Honors Program and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She became involved with tennis in 1976 as a tournament director and tournament endorser. In 1979 she became involved with the USTA Texas Section as a member of the ranking committee, junior endorser, and the junior tennis council. Throughout the years she would hold several positions on the Executive Committee and would become a certified Referee/Umpire. She has been involved with the International Tennis Foundation, and has performed many duties from medal presenter for the Olympics to member of the ITF Olympic Committee. She has also served as a liaison for the USTA in the Olympic Games in Atlanta and the Pan American Games in Argentina. Her years of service to the game have earned her many honors including; Family of the Year Award, Caswell Award, 25-year Texas Section volunteer Award , 20-year USTA volunteer award, and in 2007 the USTA Barbara Williams Award, for outstanding senior female leaders. She has inspired not only her family, but also her community to get involved and support the game of Tennis in Texas and the USA.
Class of 2006
John A. Been
John A. Been, a native of Shawnee, Oklahoma, learned to play tennis at the age of twelve with a next door neighbor. As a junior player he was the Oklahoma high school singles champion twice, and won the Junior 18's Singles and Doubles championship the same year he won the Missouri Valley Men's Open Single championship.
While attending the University of Houston in 1953 he won the Missouri Valley Conference singles title three times; the conference doubles title four times, and was a NCAA doubles semi-finalist in his senior year. As an adult player, John and partner Richard Schuette (a 2001 Hall of Fame Inductee) have won a total of six national doubles championships, been the runner-up for six more, and for five years was ranked in the top 5 of the Men's 45s Doubles, including 1972 when they reached the top ranking for the year in that category. Other victories include winning the Osuna Cup doubles event with Howard Startzman, winning the National Public Parks Championship with partner Ollie Gresham in both the Men's Doubles 65s and Men's Doubles 70s, wins over Sammy Giammalua and Whitney Reed and playing against two U.S. presidents and several celebrities.
John is a successful insurance salesman in Houston, and an active part of the Houston Racquet Club and local tennis community. A 2005 Inductee of the United States Tennis Association Missouri Valley Hall of Fame, his love of the game is legendary, as is his ability to bring others to the game and encourage them to play on a higher level.
Barbara Lain Camp
Barbara Lain Camp began playing tennis when she was fourteen and fell in love with it immediately after trying it. She quickly became ranked junior Texas player before going on to win two high school state doubles championships in 1961 (at Midland High School with Betsy Worden) and 1962 (at Robert E. Lee High School with Carol Nix).
After obtaining a degree in education from Texas Tech she taught physical education for a few years before starting the Women's Tennis Team at Southern Methodist University in 1969. Over the eleven years she coached at Southern Methodist the team was nationally ranked nine times with a record of 93-13. During those years she also served as the Executive Director of the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation, acted as the Junior Wightman Cup Coach, was the Coach for the Texas Girls Junior Development Program, and the Tournament Director for the Virginia Slims of Dallas twice, all while playing competitively in Texas tournaments. In 1980 Camp turned to more athletic administration roles first at Southern Methodist and later at the University of California, Irvine, CA and Auburn University in Auburn, AL. In these roles she has overseen countless tennis, basketball, and gymnastics tournaments and helped improve gender equity in sports by serving as a Member of the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Committee from 1993-1997.
Her favorite tennis memories include "being on the ground floor at the very beginning of Women's Athletics," founding the SMU Women's Tennis team, and winning the two high school doubles championships.
Bill Lust is a native of Minnesota, but he moved to Texas in 1947. He began playing tennis at the age of seven and went on to be a doubles finalist (with Rodolfo Gonzales) in the Texas Interscholastic League for two years straight during high school. He continued to play in college as a part of the tennis team at Colgate University in Hamilton, NY where he reached the finals of the Eastern Intercollegiates tournament in his senior year.
In 1949, while still in college, Bill helped his mother organize, sponsor and run the first East Texas Open. Bill has remained faithful to overseeing, growing the event since its conception, including serving as tournament director for over 20 years. Bill also has played in the East Texas Open, and in 1966, after winning the tournament 3 of the 4 previous years, had the privilege of retiring the trophy he had originally donated in honor of his father.
Bill has won the1953 Dallas Open, with partner James Schulze (a 1989 Hall of Fame Inductee), went undefeated in tournament play from 1956 to 1958 and won the Texas Sectional Doubles Championship in 1958. In 1985 Bill scored the Men's Singles 55 National Grass Championship, which he lists as his proudest tennis achievement. Bill continues to be a champion player, winning both the Texas Section Men's 75 Singles and Doubles (with Ray Beall) Championship titles in 2005. He notes that his favorite tennis memories center around the people he has met working the East Texas Open, planning the Tyler Tennis and Swim Club, acting as President of the Tyler Area Tennis Association and hitting balls with junior tennis players to help develop their game.
Class of 2005
Tim Heckler was a top junior tennis player in South Africa before coming to play for Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. His team remained unbeaten for his four years with wins over top NCAA teams. Heckler was ranked #1 in Men's Open Doubles in Texas four years (1969, 71, 73 and 74) with fellow inductee Paul Christian. He played Wimbledon and the US Open and was ranked as high as #54 in the USLTA.
Tim Heckler ran the Houston Open, now known as the Houston Coca-Cola Open Tennis Tournament for the Houston Tennis Association and was Consultant/Director for the famous Bobby Riggs vs. Billie Jean King "Battle of the Sexes" match in the Houston Astrodome, September 1973, a precursor to the tennis boom of the 1970s and 80s.
Tim has served as a member and president of the USPTA Texas Division Board (1974-75), the USPTA Executive Committee, the USPTA national Board of Directors and a number of USPTA and USTA committees. He developed and promoted "Little Tennis," a program introducing children (ages 3-10) and their families to tennis - tennis answer to baseball's Little League. Tim Heckler has contributed to tennis in education for teaching professionals through his work with the USPTA and has worked to build and maintain strong and cooperative relations between the USPTA, its teaching professionals, and the USTA.
Dr. William Owen
Dr. William Owen played in his first tournament in 1939, winning the Henderson County Boys Singles Championship. He played on the Highland Park High School team where he won the UIL Regional Championship. Dr. Owen has been ranked annually 26 of the past 30 years in the Texas Section, winning the Sectional doubles 6 times in various age divisions. He won the Texas Sectional Father/Daughter Doubles in 1976 and advanced to the US Championship at Forest Hills, losing in the semis. He represented Texas in USTA Intersectional Championships in 1995 and 1997.
Dr. Owen has volunteered with the Texas Tennis Association/USTA Texas Section for the past twenty-two years. He has served on the Texas Tennis Association Management Committee thirteen years, as president of the Texas Tennis Association (1989-90), President of the Houston Tennis Association (1985), delegate to the USTA and its Executive committee, chairman of the USTA Presidents Committee and has served on numerous USTA committees for the past eighteen years. Dr. Owen started the first USTA League program in Houston as President of the Houston Tennis Association, and the first 50s doubles league and first 65s doubles league.
Class of 2004
Alfred Hluchan has been playing tennis for the last 75 years. Over this time period he has played in 66 State matches, reaching the finals in 54 of them, and in 1939 was ranked Number 1 in tennis while at Sam Houston University. Hluchan, however, does not just play the sport, he teaches it as well. With a B.S. in Physical Education from Sam Houston University and a M.A. from the University of Houston, he has spent 28 years teaching and coaching at high schools and elementary schools in Houston. After officially retiring from teaching in 1977, Hluchan has continued to compete in senior tennis, earning him an unparalleled senior record of 17 single sectional championships and 22 double championships. This record earned him a place on the 2002 Billy Talbert Cup team, which won the championship in Austria. Many of his friends, however, will say that his biggest accomplishment is his inspiring example of character, energy, and humor.
Emilie Burrer Foster
Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale became a celebrity in Houston after appearing in thousands of radio and television ads for Gallery Furniture, a Houston retail institution he founded with his wife Linda in 1981. The McIngvales entered the tennis business in 1995 when Gallery Furniture took over title sponsorship of the financially strapped Houston WTA tour event. After the success of Gallery Furniture's title sponsorship of the WTA event, the McIngvales decided to purchase Westside Tennis Club in 1995. As owners, promoters and General Manager (Linda) of the club, they brought the US Men's Clay Court Champions to Houston in 2001, one of the ATP's most successful events. In 2002 the USTA selected the club as the site of the Davis Cup Quarterfinal between the US and Spain. They also brought to Houston the 2003 and 2004 Tennis Masters Cup, an international event known by many as the "fifth major". In 2005 the McIngvales became owners of the Houston Wranglers, the World Team Tennis Team, bringing Steffi Graf out of retirement to play on the team. The McIngvales have been recognized for their community service on numerous occasions. They helped lead efforts in Houston by supporting the Bush-Clinton Tsunami Fund and are currently assisting with the Bush-Clinton Houston Hurricane Relief Fund. Due in part to the McIngvales work on bringing top-level events to Houston, the International Tennis Hall of Fame selected Houston as the 2003 "City of the Year".