Virginia Annette Brown
Tennis for Virginia A. Brown began at a park close to home, where she played tennis against mostly male players. They were good, but she was determined to be better. Her drive to be the best paid off — her room soon filled with trophies from local tournaments.
Odessa Public Schools recruited her to start a junior development program, and soon after, Odessa College hired her to take over their tennis program. At a time when the number of female coaches was next to none, Brown excelled past her male counterparts at not only coaching, but also at taking a holistic approach to the profession.
Brown’s positive teachings and direct style of coaching struck chords with her players. Many of them went on to have successful tennis careers, including Sandy Collins, who spent 17 years on the pro circuit — in her second year as a professional player, Collins beat Billie Jean King and won the German Open by defeating the #1 player in the world, Tracy Austin. Brown’s desire to always better herself is reflected in the motto she recited to her players: “I will. I can. I must.”
Brown brought out the best in others. Her ability to connect with her players and drive them to improve every time they stepped foot on the court led to a career filled with notable achievements, including NJCAA College Coach of the Year, NAIA Coach of the Year, Who’s Who in American Women, coaching Professional World Team Tennis, being inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and many others.