Dr. Lewis Hilley

Induction Year: 2017

 

Dr. Lewis Hilley began his long association with tennis at Waco High School where he lettered in basketball and tennis. In late 1930s, 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 men’s and women’s tennis teams.