ITA Women’s Tennis Hall of Fame to Induct Four
Evening will also Feature Tribute Mark McCormack ‘51 09/09/04 7:49PM
WILLIAMSBURG, VA - The Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in conjunction with the induction of the class of 2004. The festivities will be held on the William and Mary campus at the award-winning McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center (MNTC) on September 18, 2004.
The 2004 inductees are Barbara Schofield Davidson
(University of California – Berkeley, University of Miami), Belmar Gunderson
(UNC – Greensboro), Barbara Jordan
(Stanford) and Kathy Jordan
(Stanford). The Class of 2004 brings the hall a wide variety of accomplishments in both the collegiate and professional tennis ranks (see below for detailed accounts of their individual achievements).
Aside from the induction ceremony, one of the evening’s highlights will include a special tribute made to the memory of Mark McCormack
‘51, who with his wife Betsy Nagelsen
, made the MNTC the home of the Tribe tennis teams and the ITA Women’s Hall of Fame. Tennis great, Monica Seles
, will join Betsy Nagelsen in the tribute ceremony. Saturday’s event will cap off an exciting weekend of activities for the inductees, as they will participate in exhibition matches, tour the Williamsburg area and much more. The evening’s events will kickoff with a cocktail party, followed by the induction ceremony, complete with dinner and video tributes.
Hall of fame members consist of outstanding collegiate players, players who attended college and later had a significant impact on women’s tennis, outstanding collegiate coaches, and individuals who played a major role in the development of women’s intercollegiate tennis. The Hall also holds a century’s worth of exhibits, ranging from Wimbledon Rosewater plates, to prototype rackets, designer tennis clothing, historic photos and scrapbooks.
Resulting from a financial gift from Mark and Betsy McCormack, the MNTC opened in 1995. It was built not only as home to the Tribe’s men’s and women’s tennis programs, but as the permanent home for the ITA’s Women’s Hall of Fame. McCormack was the founder, lead chairman, and CEO of the International Management Group, the world’s largest sports and entertainment conglomerate before he passed away on May 16, 2003.
All fans of tennis are invited to attend the Hall of Fame activities. Tickets are $100 per person and can be acquired by contacting Alycia Libby, Director of Special Events, via phone at 757-221-1599, fax at 757-221-2048, or E-Mail at [email protected]
The following is a brief thumbnail sketch on each of the 2004 inductees.
Barbara Schofield Davidson
She started riding horses, but Barbara Scofield Davidson (b. 1926) discovered her true sport when she picked up a racquet at age 11; by age 12, she had advanced to the finals of her first tournament. She was the No. 1 ranked junior player in northern California in 1944 and won the Eastern Intercollegiate Championships in 1947. 1949 was a banner year: Davidson won the California State Championship; defeated Maureen Connelly in the U.S. Championship; and won the Singles, Ladies Doubles, and Mixed Doubles at the Championships of South America. By 1950, she was No. 5 in the world. She enjoyed the social side of the tennis tour and brought quite a fashion flair to the traditional whites at Wimbledon—but those white jackets covered one of the best forehands in tennis. Davidson retired from tennis in 1956 at age 29 to raise her children, but time never dulled her passion to compete. She won the National Grass Court Championships in 1997 and was ranked No. 2 nationally among players in their seventies in 1998. Davidson won the Les-Grand Dames Championship in 2002, a tournament that draws many former U.S. Open and Wimbledon players. She also supports the arts in Wisconsin and Florida.
Encouraged to participate in all kinds of sports, from hockey to football, Belmar Gunderson (b. 1934) started playing tennis at age 12. She competed in ten U.S. Championships, three Wimbledons, and one French Championship, and she celebrated her 21st birthday in 1955 with a win over Wimbledon champion Louise Brough at Forest Hills. Even though she now spends much of her time raising horses, Gunderson remains fiercely competitive on the court. She has won eleven national doubles titles in three different senior age groups since 1994. Gunderson’s legacy is not just to tennis, but to all women’s athletics. When she went back to school as a teacher and coach, she used her competitive spirit to improve women’s sports. She established the first women’s extramurals sports programs at the University of Minnesota when she joined the faculty in 1962. She was the first official coach of the women’s tennis team and oversaw the creation of ten women’s varsity sports. She fought to increase the women’s sports’ budget to $330,000 when she left the school in 1977. Gunderson was a force in creating women’s college athletics as we know it today.
Under her father’s coaching, Barbara Jordan (b. 1957) never lost a single match in her age group in ennsylvania between age 13 and 18. Her aggressive serve-and-volley game dominated the Middle States and helped Upper Merion High School win two Pennsylvania State High School Singles Championships. She won her first USTA National Championship and played in the Junior Wimbledon Championships in 1974. In 1975 Jordan was among the first women to receive an athletic scholarship to Stanford University. She became a three-time All-American, and won the AIAW Doubles Championship (with her sister Kathy) in 1978. Jordan turned pro in 1979 and achieved a high ranking of 37. She became the only American woman during the 1970s to win the Singles at the Australian Open that year. Her doubles record includes the French Open Mixed Championship in 1983 and victories over Chris Evert, Wendy Turnball, Rosie Casals, and Billie Jean King. Jordan also served the game off court on the WTA Board of Directors, where she worked to make the WTA a more professional organization. She was honored with WTA’s Player Service Award.
Her father, Robert, started coaching her when she was 7, and Kathy Jordan (b. 1959) loved the game, playing her first tournament when she was 8. She and her sister Barbara dominated the middle states as junior players. Jordan used her height and reach to great advantage at Stanford, who awarded her an athletic scholarship in 1978. She capped her college career by winning the Singles and Doubles (with Barbara) at the AIAW National Tournament in 1979. After her sophomore year, Jordan found success on the pro circuit, claiming victories over Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Pam Shriver, and Tracy Austin and ranking No. 5 in the world. She won seven Grand Slam doubles titles, including three Wimbledon Championships. Jordan has worked hard to advance women’s tennis. She served as Secretary and Vice President of the WTA Board of Directors; helped initiate the circuit’s first drug-testing policy; and, with the help of her father, started the first retirement plan for women’s professional tennis players. Jordan also cofounded what would become the Advanta Championships in Philadelphia. She received WTA’s Player Service Award in 1991.
For further information please contact Millie West
, Curator, ITA Women’s Tennis Hall of Fame, 757.221.3331 or visit www.ITAHallofFame.com