Bill Tym and Nancy Yeargin Furman Inducted into Southern Tennis Hall of Fame

December 20, 2003 04:58 PM

Tennessee's Bill Tym and South Carolina's Nancy Yeargin Furman were inducted into the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday, January 17, 2004 during the USTA Southern Section's Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

“Both Bill Tym and Nancy Yeargin Furman are outstanding contributors to the game who have each done much to grow tennis in their states and throughout the South," said Randy Stephens, member of the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. "They have enjoyed exceptional playing and coaching careers and we are lucky to have them as members of the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame.”

Bill Tym
Bill Tym, Director of Tennis at Richland Country Club in Nashville, has been involved in tennis as a player, coach and administrator for over half a century and is regarded internationally as one of the most influential and respected people in the game today.

As a dominant player in the state of Tennessee and nationally, he enjoyed a distinguished career at the University of Florida, where he won an SEC Championship and was named to the Athletic Hall of Fame. In the late 1960’s he joined the professional men’s tour and won ten international titles. Since retiring from professional tennis he has remained competitive and has numerous national USTA titles and has repeatedly been ranked No. 1 in his age group by the USTA and USPTA.

While his playing accomplishments are certainly impressive, Bill might best be known for his remarkable skills as a coach and teaching professional. He has had great success in training and developing national champions and All-Americans at the junior, interscholastic and collegiate levels.

Bruce Lipka, a former touring pro and one of Tym’s students, insists he owes much of his success in life and on the court to Bill.

“After my freshman year of college I was no longer enjoying the game,” explained Lipka, Director of Tennis at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, MD. “I was playing at Iowa State University but to me tennis was no longer fun and my game was suffering because of it. When Bill started coaching me things became much clearer, on as well as off the court.”

“He is the best teacher of the game that I have ever seen,” continued Lipka. “His teaching methods can best be described as pragmatic and unorthodox and many say that he is a visionary who was so far ahead of his time. He has an amazing way of instilling in his students his love and passion for the game.”

A member of the USPTA since 1970, Bill has worked diligently upgrading the standards for teaching professionals. One of his initial programs for the USPTA was helping to create a standardized test for those who wished to become certified teaching pros. He also co-chaired the Academy Committee and has conducted coaching workshops around the world. He has been influential in creating and developing coaching associations in Japan, Singapore and Indonesia. He later became President of the association and was one of its first members to receive the distinguished Master Professional Classification.

Soon after retiring from the professional tour due to an injury, Bill was offered the job of Head Pro at Manker Patten in Chattanooga, TN. After accepting Bill was put in charge of the tennis programs not only at Manker Patten, but also at the Baylor School, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Fairyland Club.

He began intensive work with the local junior players and many of them began to make their mark, earning high junior rankings in Tennessee, the South and the nation. With support from the USTA Tennessee and USTA Southern Section offices Bill conducted seminars and workshops for players, pros, high school coaches and tennis parents throughout the Southeast. These workshops were instrumental in creating more interest throughout the state as well as improving the playing and coaching skills of those in attendance.

1979 was a very busy year for Bill as he worked as a special coach for the Baylor School and also coached the men’s and women’s teams at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The Baylor School’s team flourished under his guidance, going on to win the National Interscholastic Championships. At the same he led the UTC men to the Southern Conference title and the UTC women to the National AIAW Small College Championships.

Bill left Chattanooga in 1986 to become the Tennis Director and men’s head coach at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. At Vanderbilt he reached many school milestones, including taking the team to its first NCAA championships and developing the school’s first All-American player.

Bill is currently in his eighth year as the Tennis Director at Richland Country Club in Nashville where he conducts year round programs not only for top ranked juniors but also for adult and junior club members. When not at Richland, Bill travels across the country giving seminars to both teaching professionals and players or working with his top ranked junior players at national tournaments.

This past year he was inducted into the Tennessee Tennis Hall of Fame as well as the USPTA Southern Division Hall of Fame.

Bill has served on various committees for the USTA and was recently honored with the USPTA’s Lifetime Achievement Award as a result of his more than 30 years of commitment to upgrading the standards of teaching professionals and growing the game across the country.

“I feel very honored to be a member of the esteemed group who have been inducted into the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Tym, “Many of these players are legends in the South, and I am both proud and humbled to stand among them.”

Bill and Wanda, his wife of 23 years, currently live in Nashville.

Nancy Yeargin Furman
Even at a young age Nancy Yeargin Furman’s future tennis success was clear to many people. Paul Scarpa, head coach for Furman University’s men’s tennis and one of the winningest NCAA Division I coaches in America, saw her talent the moment her parents dropped her off for her first lesson.

“I first met Nancy when I was a tennis pro at the Greenville Country Club in the early 1960’s,” said Scarpa. “At the time she was around nine years old, but I could tell right away that she was going to be special player. She had all the ingredients to be on top and she was always a delight to work with.”

“I am so incredibly proud of all that Nancy has accomplished in her career and her life,” continued Coach Scarpa. “She is a wonderful person who absolutely loves the game. She is a lady through and through and a real ‘hall of fame person!’”

Nancy Yeargin grew up in Greenville, SC where, under the tutelage of her first Coach Scarpa she became a star for both the Greenville High School and Christ Church tennis teams. She successfully led both to several state championships.

She had an astounding junior career, consistently earning the South Carolina No. 1 ranking in her age division from 1968-1973. Additionally, she was the top ranked singles and doubles player in the USTA Southern Section Girls’ 18’s in 1972 and atop ranked National player in the 16’s and 18’s. During her impressive junior career she won six singles and two doubles titles at the Palmetto Championships as well as many other state and sectional championships.

While many players enjoy impressive junior careers only to see their abilities decline as they enter into adulthood, Nancy’s skills continued to improve. She attended Rollins College in Winter Park, FL where she won the Southern Collegiate Sportsmanship Award from 1974-1976 and was named All-American in 1976 and 1977. During her senior year she was team captain and a Scholar Athlete of the Year.

While at Rollins, Nancy was named to the USTA Junior Wightman Cup team in 1974 and the USTA Junior Fed Cup team in 1976 and 1977. Later she was elected into the Rollins Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.

Nancy turned pro after graduating from Rollins in June of 1977 with a Business Administration degree, playing both the United States and European circuits. During her professional career she competed in all four Grand Slams; including five years each at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and two years at the French and Australian Opens. Consistently ranked in the top 100, Nancy’s highest world ranking was No. 53. In 1982 she was selected by her peers to receive the Karen Krantzcke Sportsmanship Award. She retired from the women’s tour in 1985.

Two of her personal highlights from her professional days are a 1982 Center Court match at the U.S. Open against Martina Navratilova and a 1981 Wimbledon Center Court match with partner Renata Tomanova against Chris Evert and Virginia Wade that aired in BBC National Television.

After retiring from the tour Nancy returned to her roots, taking a position as Head Tennis Professional at the Greenville Country Club. That same year she was named a National Coach for USTA Junior players competing at the Wimbledon Junior Championships.

Nancy left her position at the Greenville Country Club in 1988 to concentrate on starting a family with her husband, Richard. Today they have three children, Rick, Robert and Mary Sitton.

Nancy was inducted into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Rollins College Hall of Fame.

“Nancy Yeargin Furman had one of the finest tennis careers of any player to have ever come out of the South,” said Randy Stephens, member of the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. “Her performance on and off the court as a junior player on up through her professional career made her an easy selection for inclusion in the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame.”

“It is a privilege and an honor to be inducted into the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Yeargin Furman. “I am very thankful to those who taught and advised me during my career. Their guidance has helped to make this possible.”