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Remembering the Legacies of ITA Hall of Famers We Lost in 2023

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) would like to honor the members of the ITA Hall of Fame whom we lost in 2023; Barbara Scofield Davison, Belmar Gunderson, Dave Snyder, David Borelli, Dick Leach, Jerry Simmons, Robert Perry, and Virginia Brown. 

Barbara Scofield Davidson – A tennis visionary to all, Barbara Scofield Davidson led a whirlwind life full of international travel and success at the junior, collegiate, and professional levels. As a California Junior Tennis Champion, Davidson was the top-ranked female junior player in Northern California, being the state’s champion in women’s singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. 

In 1947, Davidson attended the University of Miami (FL) on one of the institution’s first-ever women’s athletic scholarships. While there, she won the Eastern Intercollegiate Championships. In 1949, Davidson reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, the U.S. Championships at the time. Davidson would continue her time on tour, playing at Wimbledon, the French Open, and all across the globe, resulting in five various top ten women’s singles world rankings. Between 1946 and 1956, Davidson would reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, the semifinals at the French Open, and would win the 1950 French Open Mixed Doubles title. 

In her later years, Davidson began competing again, this time as a senior in national and international tournaments. She was ranked as high as No. 2 in the world in the 70-plus age division. 

Outside of tennis, Davidson enjoyed collecting fine art, something she became passionate about due to her international travels. She was inducted into the ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004, and the USTA Northern California Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013. 

Belmar Gunderson – Known as the “Mother of Women’s Intercollegiate Tennis” Belmar Gunderson made leaps and bounds for the sport of women’s college tennis. From 1975-76, Gunderson became the first director of the University of Minnesota women’s athletics department, laying the foundation for future generations of student-athletes. 

Following her time in that position, Gunderson worked as the university’s extramural and intramural sports director, teaching in the physical education department and coaching several sports, before leading the new women’s department. In his role, Gunderson spearheaded the formation of the Patty Berg Scholarship Fund to provide athletic scholarships to women. Her efforts led to an annual department budget of $330,000. 

Gunderson found a great deal of success on the court herself in the early 1950s at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She competed in many premier tennis tournaments, including Wimbledon and the U.S. Lawn Tennis National Championships. Gunderson was nationally ranked as high as No. 11 in singles and No. 2 in doubles, competing in USTA and ITF World doubles events for decades following her time in Greensboro.   

By the conclusion of her playing and professional career, Gunderson dedicated over 50 years to women’s athletics. She was inducted into the Minnesota M Club Hall of Fame in 2003 and was a charter member of the UNC-Greensboro Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000. Gunderson was awarded the USTA Service Bowl Award in 2011, an award given out annually to a female player who has made a notable contribution to the sportsmanship, fellowship, and service of tennis. Gunderson was inducted into the ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004. 

Dave Snyder – During Snyder’s 28 seasons leading the Texas men’s tennis program, he guided the Longhorns to nine conference titles and finished his time in Austin with a 536-178 (.751) dual-match record. Spanning over his three decades at Texas, Snyder developed 27 All-Americans and two NCAA Singles National Champions, Kevin Curren (1979) and Steve Bryan (1990).

Snyder earned the ITA National Coach of the Year honors in 1985, ITCA at the time, when he led the Longhorns to a 26-5 overall record and the NCAA quarterfinals. Snyder concluded his career with nine consecutive NCAA tournament berths, including a semifinal appearance in 1993. When stepping down as head coach at Texas in 2000, Snyder did so as the winningest active collegiate tennis coach in NCAA Division I men’s tennis. 

Before his time in Austin, Snyder served as the head coach at the University of Arizona, posting a 161-48 (.770) record, which combined with his Texas dual-match record, brings his career win-loss record to 697-266 (.755) over his 41 year career. 

A Longhorn through and through, Snyder competed on the Texas men’s tennis team from 1952-1956, winning three Southwest Conference titles and finishing as the National Finalist at the 1955 NCAA Championships. In 1956, Snyder captured the Southwest Conference doubles title alongside partner Sammy Giammalva. 

In 1988, Snyder was inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor and the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Texas Tennis Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Missouri Valley Tennis Hall of Fame, and the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. In 2001, Snyder was inducted into the ITA Men’s Tennis Hall of Fame. 

David Borelli From 1974-1988, Borelli was the head coach of the USC Women’s Tennis team. While at the helm of the program, Borelli won seven NCAA National Championships and compiled an impressive .870 winning percentage with the Women of Troy. In 1981, he was named NCAA National Collegiate Coach of the Year. 

During his time at USC, Borelli led his players to five NCAA Singles National Championships and one NCAA Doubles National Championship, with 25 of his players earning a total of 56 All-America honors. 

After his time at USC, Borelli continued his work mentoring players, including coaching future top professional Mardy Fish, as a USTA professional tour coach. 

In 2002, Borelli became the head women’s coach at TCU, and earned ITA Regional Coach of the Year honors in the 2005 season. He spent 12 years with the TCU, coaching both the women’s and men’s teams during his time in Fort Worth. 

Borelli served as the chair of the National Collegiate Tennis Coaches Committee, the Western Collegiate Athletic Association, the Pac-10 Coaches Committee, and was on the board of directors of the Central California Tennis Association. He also spent time serving on the ITA and NCAA Southwest Regional committees. Borelli was inducted into the ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010. 

Dick Leach – Leach, who was handed the reins of the Trojan program in 1980 from another storied coach, George Toley, instantly left his mark on the world of college tennis, guiding his teams to NCAA Team National Championships in 1991, 1993, 1994, and 2002. 

As an avid tennis player since a young age, Leach ranked as high as No. 3 in the USTA U-15 National Rankings and would later go on to play for Coach Toley at USC where he would be named a team captain and an All-American in the 1961 season. 

Evolving from a player to coach, Leach would spend time as the USTA Junior Davis Cup coach from 1966-68 before spending time as the head pro at the San Marino Tennis Club while also serving as a general partner for the Big Bear Tennis Ranch, Westlake Tennis and Swim Club, Ojai Valley Racquet Club and the Racquet Club of Irvine.

Being a Trojan since birth, Leach’s biggest dream in coaching was to bring a national championship to USC, a school in which his father, his sons, and he attended. His dream came to fruition in 1991 when he led the Trojans to a 5-2 victory over Georgia, his first of four titles during his time at USC. 

Over his career, Leach achieved a 529-133 (.799) overall record and took the Trojans to the postseason in all but one year of his coaching career. Leach was named the ITA National Coach of the Year in 1987 and 1991, while also earning the distinction of being named the PAC-10 Coach of the Year four times. 

Leach produced more than 35 All-Americans during his 23-year tenure at the helm of the Trojans. In 2003, Leach was inducted into the ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame. 

Jerry Simmons – As the winningest coach in LSU history when he retired in 1997, Jerry Simmons led the men’s tennis program to a total of 278 victories and 13 Top 10 finishes at the NCAA Tournament. In 1988, Simmons coached the Tigers to the NCAA National Championship finals, finishing the season with a 27-2 record. That same team finished the year undefeated outdoors and played for the national indoor title. Following the season, Simmons was named National Coach of the Year.  

Under Simmons, the team captured the 1985 SEC Championship and reached the finals of the SEC tournament three other times. In 1988 and 1997, Simmons was named SEC Coach of the Year. Simmons had players earn 24 All-American honors, 34 All-SEC accolades, and nine players earned SEC singles and doubles titles. 

Before taking over the LSU Men’s Tennis program in 1983, Simmons was the head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, Southwestern Louisiana at the time, for 11 seasons. At UL-Lafayette, Simmons guided the Cajuns to six straight Southland Conference titles, earning SLC Coach of the Year honors three times. Upon his departure, Simmons left UL-Lafayette as the winningest coach in school history. 

Simmons served as coach of the U.S. Junior Davis Cup Team in 1974 and 1981. He was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2018 and to the ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998. 

Robert Perry – As a standout on the UCLA men’s tennis team, Robert Perry was a part of three NCAA championship-winning teams and two doubles teams that earned the nation’s top prize. Under head coach J.D. Morgan, Perry and his teammates finished first nationally for three subsequent seasons. During that time, UCLA collected a 41-5 record.  

In his first season with the Bruins, Perry finished as a runner-up at the NCAA singles and doubles tournament. The next year in 1953, Perry partnered with Larry Huebner to win the doubles crown. That same year, Perry also made the singles semifinals. During his first two years at UCLA, Perry also represented the United States in Davis Cup competition.

In 1954, Perry brought home the NCAA doubles titles for a second consecutive year, this time alongside fellow team captain Ron Livingston. That same year, Perry won the Pacific Coast Conference singles championship. 

On the professional tour, Perry won the 1956 French Open doubles title with partner Don Candy. Perry made two single fourth-round showings, the first at Wimbledon in 1955 and the second at the 1956 French Open, as well as two doubles quarter-final performances at the Australian Open in 1954 and Wimbledon in 1955 and 1956.

Following his time on tour, Perry ran the La Jolla Tennis Club from 1972-1999. Perry was inducted into the ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 1997.  

Virginia Brown – As a standout player and coach, Virginia Brown left an unmatched legacy. Before beginning her 40-year coaching career, Brown won the Texas State doubles championships from 1958 to 1962. In 1959, Brown competed at Wimbledon.  

Following her time on the professional tour, Brown landed her first coaching position at Odessa College in 1963, where she remained until 1980. With several years overlapping, Brown also coached the women’s team at the University of Texas Permian Basin from 1974 to 1988 and served as the UTPB Athletic Director between 1987 and 1988. 

In 1985, Brown was named the NAIA Coach of the Year as well as the NJCAA Coach of the Year an impressive six times (1969, 1970, 1976, 1978, 1980 in women’s and 1980 in men’s). While coaching at the NAIA level, her teams captured a total of 14 National Junior College Team Championships (8 women’s and 6 men’s) between 1967 and 1980. Brown concluded her coaching career as the head women’s tennis coach at Texas Tech from 2000-02. 

Brown was inducted into the ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 2016.

About the ITA Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men’s and Women’s Halls of Fame aspire to preserve and celebrate the history and further the development of intercollegiate tennis through the collection of historic memorabilia and with inductions of notable players, coaches, and contributors.

About the ITA – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is the governing body and coaches association of college tennis, both an advocate and an authority for the sport and its members. Comprised of 1,260 colleges and universities, 20,000 student-athletes, 1,700 varsity programs, 3,000 coaches, and 1,350 college tennis officials, the ITA empowers college tennis coaches at all levels to deliver vibrant tennis programs that are vital to their college communities and transformational to their student-athletes. Follow the 2023-24 college tennis season on the ITA website and ITA social channels on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

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