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Texas Tennis Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2017

September 6, 2017


WACO, TEXAS – The Texas Tennis Museum and Hall of Fame is proud to announce its Class of 2017. This year’s inductees are Beverly Bowes‐Hackney, Dr. Lewis Moore Hilley, Tommy Connell and John Zimmerman. 


The induction will take place during the 37th Annual Texas Tennis Museum and Hall of Fame Banquet in Waco on Saturday, November 11, 2017. The theme of this year’s event “You’ve Come a Long Way Baby,” will highlight women’s progression in tennis.  Banquet tickets are $80 each. A table of eight can be reserved for $600. Tickets for the event can be ordered online or by calling Emily McAnsh 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.


Event Details: 

The banquet will be held in conjunction with the Waco Showdown Women’s USTA Pro Circuit tournament. A community tennis event will take place from 10:00‐11:00 P.M. at Hurd Tennis Center, followed by the semi‐finals singles matches and the doubles final.  Admission is free. Additional information on the Waco Showdown can be found at   A self‐guided tour of the museum will begin at 5:00 P.M. and will include the screening of a PBS documentary which will highlight a string of Texas events that paved the way for generations of women both on and off the tennis court.  Banquet ticket holders are invited to a cocktail reception from 6:00‐7:00 P.M. in the Great Hall. The banquet will take place at 7:00 

P.M. In addition to the Class of 2017 Hall of Fame induction and volunteer recognition, Ashley Weinhold, current WTA touring pro and actress in the upcoming movie Battle of the Sexes, will share her experiences on the women's tour and the movie set.   


Class of 2017: 


Beverly Bowes‐Hackney 

Beverly Bowes was one of the most decorated tennis players in Southwest Conference history. A four time All‐America selection at the University of Texas in singles (1984, 1985 and 1987) and doubles (1984), Bowes was selected to the All SWC team four consecutive years from 1983‐1987 and made the All SWC doubles team twice. She was also named the Southwest Conference Player of the Year twice (1984‐85 & 1986‐87) and was named to the SWC All Decade Team for the 1980s. Bowes was a member of the inaugural class of the UT Women’s Hall of Honor in 2000.  While competing professionally on the WTA Tour from 1987‐1995, she 

achieved a top 50 ranking and played in 25 Grand Slam events. She began her teaching career at the Evert tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Florida from 1996 to 1998. She also served as the women’s tennis coach at SMU (2000‐2001) and the assistant coach at the University of Texas (2003‐2005). Bowes worked as the Director of Women’s Tennis from 2005‐2007 at the Circle C Tennis Club in Austin. She is currently the Director of Tennis at River Place Country Club in Austin (2009‐present) where she is responsible for every facet of the tennis program including managing ten USPTA‐certified tennis professionals.

Tommy Connell 

Tommy Connell has a lifetime of service to the tennis industry and the state of Texas. A Texas A&M University graduate and four year tennis letterman, Connell has served Texas tennis for over 40 years. He earned Professional of the Year honors twice while serving as director of tennis at the following facilities:  Beaumont Country Club, Galveston Racquet Club, Royal Oaks Racket Club and Lakeside Country Club. Connell was president of USPTA Texas Division and served as a board member for twelve years and a national executive board member for two years. Connell also had a distinguished playing career where he earned National Player of the Year ‐ three years, Texas Player of the year‐ eight years and was ranked No. 1 several times in both singles and doubles.  He won seven gold balls (2 singles and 5 doubles), five silver and two bronze. He was a member of the national team that won a silver medal in South Africa. His highest national ranking was No. 1 in doubles and No. 2 in singles. He was a member of the Intersectional Team Champions twice. He won the first USTA Texas Senior Spirit of Tennis Award, Family of the Year and was Ranked No. 1 in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles multiple years. Connell was also a Senior Tennis Council chairman and committee member, as well as a board member for the Houston Tennis. A former tournament director for 

the Houston Open, he also spent eleven years teaching tennis and training instructors on mission trips in Zambia, Egypt, and Mongolia. 


Dr. Lewis Hilley 

Lewis Hilley began his long association with tennis at Waco High School where he lettered in basketball and tennis. In 1940 he played varsity tennis for Baylor University. During World War II, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps becoming an officer and leader in physical training and recreation. While in the service, he continued playing tennis in the South Pacific, winning a prestigious doubles championship with his brother, John Gordon Hilley. While working on his doctorate at the University of Texas, he was hired as the first tennis professional at Caswell Tennis Center in Austin. At Lamar Tech, Hilley coached the tennis and golf teams from 1952 to 

1962. He won twenty championships, nine in golf and eleven straight in tennis in the Lone Star Conference. Lamar dominated the NAIA with six consecutive tennis championships from 1955 to 1960, and five national golf crowns. He coached six undefeated tennis team, and his last four squads won nineteen straight dual matches. Coach Hilley broke new ground by recruiting foreign players into his tennis program. Notable recruits include Cliff Drysdale (South Africa), Tim Heckler (South Africa), Warren Jacques (Australia), Pedro Bueno (Brazil) and James Schmidt (USA). After leaving Lamar to be chair of health and physical education at the University of South Florida for two years and chairing the Department of Health and Physical Education at 

the University of South Alabama, he returned to Texas in 1971 to chair the Department to Health and Physical Education at Mary Hardin‐Baylor in Belton. At UMHB, he coached the mens and womens tennis teams.  

John Zimmerman 

John Zimmerman has been involved in tennis and other athletics in Texas his whole life. He and his wife Joyce both won the State 3A Championships while attending Cuero High School. In Cuero he played football, basketball, baseball and tennis and was the State A tennis champion. He graduated valedictorian of his class and entered Rice University on a football scholarship. At Rice he played both football and tennis his freshman and sophomore years and concentrated on tennis his junior and senior years. He upset the number two seeded state player during the  Southwest Conference semi‐finals against the University of Texas. John and Joyce spent many years competing in local and sectional championships and volunteering for community and sectional committees and organizations. The Zimmerman Family has been recognized as the USTA Texas Family of the Year. John was president of USTA Texas from 1977 to 1978 and has remained actively involved in the organization. He also served as president of the Corpus Christi Tennis Association. Zimmerman was the 26th winner of the Rice University Bob Quin Award – the most prestigious athletic award at Rice. Zimmerman became the first tennis player to win the award since 1941. John and Joyce Zimmerman were inducted into the

Cuero Hall of Fame in 2008.

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