Ben T. Ball
Induction Year: 2006
Ben T. Ball (1923-2018) grew up in Bessemer, Alabama. He served in the United States Navy during WWII and graduated from Samford University (formally Howard College) with a B.A. in math.
Ball began playing tennis in his early teens, but did not commit to the sport until the Davis Cup came to Dallas in the late 1960s. His interest rekindled, he started playing informally with a group at Samuel Grand Park. He quickly went from just playing to working as a volunteer with the Dallas Tennis Association and the Texas Tennis Association (now USTA Texas) and helping out with the junior program.
Throughout the 1970s, he served as president, vice president and treasurer of the Dallas Tennis Association and President of the Texas Tennis Association until he was hired as the Texas Tennis Association executive director in 1979. During his 15 years of leadership, he helped grow the organization from two staff members to ten, strengthened the Junior and Leagues programs and expanded the membership. Ball, with help from Ron Fisher (1988 inductee), was also instrumental in developing and implementing the first computerized tennis ranking system (STAR) in the country. He also helped develop the first two tier junior competitive program which was able to handle the large junior draws in Texas and create equal competitive play. Continued large draws led to the current three tier system (1989). Because of this system, USTA Texas has had the largest per capita junior membership for over 30 years.
Playing doubles with Glenn Ivy, Ball held a national doubles ranking as high as #5, and in mixed doubles he reached a ranking of #3 with partner Nony Michulka. Ball was also the non-playing captain of the Crawford Cup Team and the Bitsy Grant Cup Team, helping lead the teams to first and second place. He was awarded the W.T. Caswell Award in 1976 and the Julius Zinn Senior Spirit Award in 2001.