W.T. “Will” Caswell

Induction Year: 1981

 

W.T. “Will” Caswell (1877-1962) was a leading advocate of tennis in Austin. He was born in 1877 in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1899 with a degree in civil engineering and moved to Austin. He operated one of the largest cotton export businesses in the south.

 

Caswell was one of the original directors of the Austin YMCA. In 1923 he built Austin Athletic Club, which was turned over to the City Recreation Department as a gift in 1931. In 1924 he was awarded Austin’s Most Worthy Citizen award. He was the first chairman of the first Parks and Recreation Board formed in 1928 and remained very active on the board for 25 years.

 

Caswell began playing tennis at the age of 40. In 1932 he teamed up with his son-in-law, Wilmer Allison, to win the Sugar Bowl doubles title. He also promoted the growth of the Texas Tennis Association and is still honored by the organization annually with a service award in his name.

 

In 1949 Caswell personally designed and shared a portion of the expense of building tennis courts and a clubhouse at 24th and Lamar in Austin. This center was part of the city Parks and Recreation program and was used as a model for other centers throughout the country. The name was later changed to Caswell Tennis Center.

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