Induction Year: 2020
Paul Cass of Corpus Christi, upon graduating from Texas A&M in 1970, immediately landed a job coaching high school tennis though he was a baseball player self taught to play tennis and had no previous coaching experience. However, his long career as the very successful tennis “Coach Cass” began there.
His rookie year produced a district-winning tennis team and a boy who won the 4A State Singles title. Moving on to Corpus Christi Richard King High School after that, he continued winning district titles at the 4A and 5A levels (highest at the time) for the next 21 consecutive years—an unprecedented accomplishment that has never been equaled.
In 1973 he developed and promoted the concept of the State Team Tournament. Before this, all high school play was based on individual results with the best team of the year declared by a coaches’ poll. Coach Cass thought the best team should be determined by a head-to-head competition of entire teams. Thus the fall team competition was born and continues today. The individual competitions remained in the spring season, and in 1986 Coach Cass had a girls singles, girls doubles and boys doubles all win State titles after winning regional and districts at the 5A level. This was another accomplishment that has never been repeated in Texas high school tennis.
Overall, Coach Cass won 19 Regional titles and 9 State titles. He coached 33 Regional Champions and 16 State Champions. His teams were 143-3 in District play, and all his teams were ranked in the top 10 in Texas, frequently top three. He coached over 100 All-District players, 22 All-State players and 14 All-Americans.
In the summers he traveled around the small towns of Texas to promote and teach tennis, giving free clinics in 2 or 3 towns a day. He also developed and ran Little League Tennis in Corpus, a program of free clinics and team competition for disadvantaged children.
Coach Cass also excelled as a player with a #1 ranking in Texas in singles, doubles and father/son and #3 ranking in husband-wife. Plus he won 12 gold balls nationally in Father/Daughter and 2 bronze in Father/Son. He has also represented the USA in international team competition, been inducted into the Texas Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame, and he and his family were named USTA Texas Family of the Year in 2016. Currently, he still teaches, works with league teams and is an advisor for the Corpus Christi Tennis Association.