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White Prausa Leads Group of Three into ITA Hall of Fame

September 18, 2008 05:32 PM

Three women with USTA Southern connections will be inducted into the ITA Women’s Hall of Fame September 19.

Wendy White Prausa

Wendy White Prausa is the only women’s tennis player to turn pro during college and graduate on time. Ranked in the top 100 for twelve straight years, the native of Atlanta, Ga., was inducted into the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001.

White was awarded the USTA’s Girls’ Sportsmanship Trophy in 1978. As a Rollins College sophomore in 1980, she captured the intercollegiate singles title and won the Broderick Award as National Female Collegiate Athlete of the Year in Tennis. Joining the professional tour in the summer of 1980, she rose as high as No. 19 in singles and No. 18 in doubles.

Other achievements and honors include ranked No. 1 in Georgia 16s, No. 1 in USTA Southern 18s, named to the National Junior Wightman Cup in 1977 and 1978, Collegiate All-American and Collegiate Sports Player of the Year in 1979 and 1980.

Receiving her B.A. with honors in 1982, White continued to compete as a professional until 1992, scoring wins over some of the game’s legends, including two wins against Billie Jean King plus victories over Wendy Turnbull and Helena Sukova. Continuing to stay active in tennis after leaving the tour, White served as a USTA area training coach and was named Player of the Decade in 2000 by the U.S. Professional Tennis Registry.

Doubles standout Beatriz “Gigi” Fernandez won 17 Grand Slam doubles titles and two Olympic gold medals during her pro career from 1983 to 1997. Recruited to Clemson from her native Puerto Rico, she reached the national inter-collegiate singles finals in her freshman year and then joined the professional circuit. She captured 69 doubles titles overall, and reached as high as No. 17 in the singles rankings.

After retiring from the tour, Fernandez went on to earn her B.A. with honors from the University of South Florida in 2003. She also coached the USF women’s tennis team from 2002-05, taking the unranked team to a Top 30 ranking. Dedicated to developing Puerto Rican tennis, Fernandez worked with the island’s Fed Cup and Olympic teams, and in 1999 was named Puerto Rico’s Female Athlete of the Century. She is currently enrolled in the M.B.A. program at Rollins College.

Alice Luthy Tym served as head coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga from 1974 to 1978. started the varsity women’s program and guided her teams to two AIAW Small College National Championships. Appointed director of tennis at Yale in 1978, she coached the nationally ranked women’s team for four years and won the Ivy Championships in 1981. Tym returned to UT-Chattanooga in 1982 to become a faculty member in the geography department, a position she still holds today.

Tyn established the women’s tennis team and served as its captain while an undergraduate at the University of Florida from 1960–64. A Ford Foundation fellow, she received Phi Beta Kappa honors and earned an M.A. from UF in geography in 1966.

Janice Metcalf Cromer, who holds the distinction of being the first woman to play on the men’s team at the University of Redlands, will also be inducted.

From 1964 to 1970, she played on the international circuit, winning titles on five continents and securing a world ranking as high as No. 13 in 1969.

The ITA Women’s Hall of Fame was established in 1995 and honors outstanding collegiate players and coaches, as well as players who attended college and later had a significant impact on women’s tennis. The Hall of Fame is located at the College of William and Mary’s McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center, named for the late Mark McCormack, founder of sports marketing giant International Management Group, and his wife, former tennis pro Betsy Nagelsen.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Friday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 at the Sadler Center on William and Mary’s campus. Betsy Nagelsen McCormack will officially induct the new members. The event is open to the public and tickets are still available, please contact Mildred West at mebwest@verizon.net.




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