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ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame Class Inducted During 2003 NCAA Division I Championships

May 20, 2003 09:59 AM
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) inducted six new members into its ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame during the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships on May 21 at the University of Georgia.

The Class of 2003 consists of Southern California's Bill Bond, Dick Leach and Robert Van't Hof, as well as George M. Church of Princeton, Bob McKinley of Trinity (Texas) and longtime NCAA Referee "Big" Jim Russell. Church will be inducted posthumously.

Players are eligible for election to the ITA Hall of Fame 15 years after their last collegiate match and coaches are eligible following retirement. The main criteria for election are college accomplishments as well as honors earned after college. College tennis legend Dan Magill serves as curator for the ITA Hall of Fame, which is housed at the University of Georgia. The enshrinement banquet will be at the Holiday Inn in Athens.

USC's three inductees will give it 14 members in the ITA Men's Hall of Fame. Three is most to be inducted from one school in the same year since Yale sent a trio into the Hall Fame in 1993.

Bond was a member of three straight NCAA titles teams from 1962-64. A three-time ITA All-American, he captured the NCAA doubles title with Dennis Ralston in 1964 and reached the final in '63. Bond's '63 USC team is considered to be one of the best of all time. That Trojan team featured four players (and Coach George Toley) who would go on to be inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame.

Leach retired last season after leading USC to the 2002 NCAA team title, the school's 16th overall and fourth under Leach. Leach was named Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career last season. He succeeded the legendary Toley as USC coach back in 1980 and led the Men of Troy to 535 victories during his 23-year tenure. Leach also played at USC, where he was an All-American in '61. Last May his oldest son Rick, a four-time ITA All-American at USC, was inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame. The Leaches will be the fourth father-son members in the ITA Hall of Fame.

Van't Hof won the NCAA singles title in 1980 (for Coach Leach) and was a three-time All-American from 1978-80. He was also an NCAA semifinalist in doubles in '80. In recent years, Van't Hof gained notoriety as coach for then No. 1-ranked Lindsay Davenport.

Trinity's McKinley was a four-time ITA All-American from 1969-72, starring on the '72 NCAA championship and '71 runner-up teams. He also received the Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award in '72. As a coach, he led Trinity to the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor title in '77 and was named Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year the same season. McKinley is the seventh player from Trinity to be inducted in to the ITA Hall of Fame.

Princeton's Church won the national collegiate singles titles in 1912 and 1914 (and also captured the doubles title in '14). He was ranked in the U.S. top 10 on three occasions and was the U.S. Interscholastic champion for Irving High School in New York in 1911. Church is the sixth person from Princeton to be inducted.

"Big Jim" Russell, a 1966 graduate from Florida State (where he played baseball), is being inducted as a contributor. Russell has served as head referee at the NCAA Men's Championships since 1992. He also served as head referee for the ACC Tournament and the Icy Hot/ITA Men's All-American Championships, as well as a term as president of the USTA Southern Section (1993-94). He is currently the chairman of the USTA Southern Section's Collegiate Team Tennis Committee.

The ITA Men's Tennis Hall of Fame, which includes over 1,800 rare photos, was inaugurated in 1983 and has inducted more than 160 players, coaches and contributors. Members include the late Arthur Ashe (UCLA), Jimmy Connors (UCLA), John McEnroe (Stanford) and Stan Smith (Southern California). The ITA Women's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame is located at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
 

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