Owen Davidson, Dick King and Linda Rupert Thomas to be inducted
September 4, 2015
The Texas Tennis Museum and Hall of Fame is proud to announce its Class of 2015. This year’s inductees are Owen Davidson, Dick King and Linda Rupert Thomas.
The 35th Annual Texas Tennis Museum and Hall of Fame Induction Banquet will be held in Waco on Saturday, November 21, 2015, at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, located at 1108 S. University Parks Drive, Waco, TX 76706. Induction banquet tickets are $75 each. A table of eight can be reserved for $550. Tickets for the event may be ordered securely online or by calling Phyllis Trice at (254) 756-1633. The official host hotel for this year’s banquet is the Fairfield Inn & Suites located at 4257 North IH-35, Waco, TX 76705, (254) 412-2535. The special Texas Sports Hall of Fame room rate of $99 is available until November 1, 2015.
Hosted in conjunction with the Induction Banquet, the Grand Reopening Play Day will take place from 2:00-5:00 P.M. on November 21, 2015 in the parking lot of the Texas Sports Museum at 1108 S. University Park Drive, Waco, Texas. It will include games and prizes for all ages.
At 3:00 and 5:00 P.M. the Museum will host a screening of two new documentaries “WCT: The Road to Open Tennis” and"Unforgettable The Little Mo Connolly Story" in the Tom Laundry Theater inside the Texas Sports Museum.
“WCT: The Road to Open Tennis” shows how the tennis tour, co-founded in the 1960s by Hall of Famer Lamar Hunt with the finals played in Dallas annually from 1971 through 1989, significantly accelerated the growth of professional tennis and laid the groundwork for today’s professional tours.
"Unforgettable The Little Mo Connolly Story" tells the story of "Little Mo's" early tennis days on the courts of Balboa Park in her native San Diego through her Grand Slam win. It also chronicles her determination and courage when a horseback riding accident cut short her career as well as her valiant battle with cancer that claimed her life in 1969 at 34 years of age. Most importantly, the film tells of the impact "Little Mo's" legacy has even today, with interviews from those who knew her, and the way in which her character helped shape the lives of her family, friends and fans.
Induction Banquet ticket holders are invited to a Cocktail Reception from 6:00-7:00 P.M. in the Grand Hall of the Texas Sports Museum. The Induction Banquet will take place at 7:00 P.M. in the Grand Hall of the Sports Museum. Current Hall of Famers and new inductees will be celebrated.
Class of 2015:
Owen Davidson has been competing and making contributions to the sport of tennis since the 1960s. Davidson holds the honor of being the first player to win a match in the open era of tennis when he defeated John Clifton in the first round of the British Hard Court Championships in April 1968. Davidson won 13 major mixed double titles and 5 double majors. Four of those title championships came at the prestigious Wimbledon Championship with one occurring at the U.S. Open. Eight of his 13 major mixed double titles came alongside arguably one the greatest women tennis players in the history of the sport, Billie Jean King. At the peak of Davidson’s game he was ranked No. 8 in the world (1967). He finished with an overall career record of 242-181. Even when his playing days completed he never truly retired from the sport. Davidson has served as the Director of Tennis for the Houston Racquet Club as well as the Director of Tennis for the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch. He tu tored over a 1,000 Texas tennis players including time spent as 2010 Texas Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Sammy Giammalva’s Jr.’s personal coach on the pro tour. This will be Davidson’s third Hall of Fame induction as he also was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island in 2010 and the following year was inducted into the Australia Tennis Hall of Fame in Melbourne, Australia.
Glenn Richard “Dick” King has shared his passion and knowledge of tennis throughout the state of Texas for over 50 years. King played collegiate tennis at Southern Illinois University where he had a highly successful career winning numerous matches and tournaments. After completing his time at Southern Illinois University, he continued to compete and win at countless singles and doubles tennis tournaments across the United States. He began his coaching career at the University of Texas as the interim head coach of the women’s tennis team in 1979. King continued his coaching career at Temple College from 1992-2014 serving as the head women’s and men’s tennis coach throughout his tenure at the college. During his time at Temple College he won three NJCAA Women’s National Championships, and coached 20 women’s teams and 22 men’s teams to NJCAA National Tournament appearances. He coached three National Junior College Players of the Y ear and 56 Junior College All-Americans during his 22 year tenure at Temple. Additionally, he coached five UIL Texas high school tennis state champions. King was a three-time National Junior College Coach of the Year recipient in addition to numerous Texas College Tennis Coach of the Year awards. In 2000, he was inducted into the NJCAA Men’s Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame. Four years later, he was inducted into the NJCAA Women’s Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame as well.
Linda Rupert Thomas
Linda Rupert Thomas has participated in Texas tennis for nearly 60 years serving as an ambassador of the game to the state of Texas. She won numerous Junior Titles and was a Junior Wightman Cup Team Member. Rupert Thomas attended and played collegiate tennis at Lamar University from 1969-1973. She was a two-time TAIAW singles and doubles champion in 1972 and 1973. From 1970 to 1974, Rupert Thomas was ranked No. 1 in the Texas Women’s Collegiate singles and doubles polls all four years. In her final year playing collegiate tennis at Lamar she won the National Collegiate Doubles Champion with partner Cathy Beene and was named an All-American. Rupert Thomas went on play seven years on the Women’s Tennis Pro Circuit. In 1978, she advanced through four qualifying rounds of the Wimbledon Championship before eventually losing to Chris Evert in the third round. At the peak of her game, she was ranked the No. 76 women’s singles tennis player in the world (1978). Afte r her playing career ended, Rupert Thomas served as her alma mater’s head tennis coach for three years from 1977-1980 until she became a club pro in Houston. She has spent the past 30 years actively promoting tennis in Houston serving as Head Tennis Pro of Chancellors Racket Club, Tennis Director of the University Club and Tennis Director of the ERJCC Jewish Community Center. Additionally, Rupert Thomas is the co-founder of the Houston Wheelchair Tennis Foundation.