The Texas Tennis Museum and Hall of Fame Mourns Nancy Jeffett
July 7, 2017
The Texas Tennis Museum and Hall of Fame mourns the loss of Nancy Jeffett (Class of 1983) who passed away peacefully on Thursday, July 6, 2017 at the age of 88.
Jeffett was co-founder of the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation and longtime chair of the U.S. Wightman and Federation Cups. She is considered one of the most influential women in tennis.
Jeffett played junior tennis as a child in St. Louis. She attended Washington University before marrying businessman Frank Jeffett in 1956. The marriage brought her to Dallas where she assumed a leadership role in the tennis community while raising her two children.
Jeffett founded the Tyler Tennis Association in 1954 and later became the Chairman of the Texas Tennis Junior Development Program (1960-82). In 1968 Jeffett teamed with Grand Slam champion Maureen Connolly to establish the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation.
In 1969 after Connolly’s untimely death from cancer, Jeffett made a financial commitment to establish the first Maureen Connolly Brinker Memorial Tournament. In 1972 the tournament made tennis history as the first women’s professional event to be televised and award prize money to winners. That tournament later became the Virginia Slims of Dallas, one of the most popular and important tournaments in the early years of the WTA Tour. Under Jeffett’s leadership, the organization now sponsors a dozen major tournaments and has contributed more than $4 million for player development – from public parks to the professional level.
Jeffett’s hard work led her to become a longtime chair of both the U.S. Wightman Cup (1978-90) and Federation Cup (1981-1990). Jeffett has also contributed to tennis as an active member of the USTA Executive Committee (1973-1994) and on the ITF Fed Cup Committee (1988-1996).
Jeffett earned the USTA Service Bowl Award (1970) and services awards from World Championship Tennis (1983), the International Tennis Federation (1994) and the Virginia Slims (1996). In addition to the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame (1983), Jeffett has also been inducted into the St. Louis Tennis Hall of Fame (1999) and the International Tennis Hall of Fame (2015).