2013 Inductees

Player

John Harding Lucas II –  In 1976, as a student at the University of Maryland, Lucas made history by becoming the first African American to be selected to the collegiate All-American teams in both basketball and tennis. Born in Durham, North Carolina in 1953 to two educators, Lucas learned at an early age that he had talent in both tennis and basketball. He broke basketball legend Pete Maravich’s all-time North Carolina high school scoring record. In addition, at 17, Lucas was named to the Junior Davis Cup tennis team. He received more than 350 college scholarship offers to play basketball and/or tennis. However, he choose to attend the University of Maryland because he wanted to play both sports at a school with a strong basketball and tennis team. Schools like UCLA wanted him to focus on either basketball or tennis. Lucas was an extraordinary collegiate basketball star who became the all-time high scorer in the University of Maryland’s basketball history and won the Atlantic Coast Conference Singles Championship in tennis in 1974 and 1975

Lucas represented the U.S. and won a bronze medal at the FIBA World Basketball Championships in 1974 and a gold medal at the Pan American Games in 1975. In spite of his extraordinary success on the basketball court by the time he graduated from Maryland, Lucas was still undecided as to which of the two sports he would pursue. However, when he was chosen in the first round of the 1976 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft by the Houston Rockets he chose to pursue a full-time professional basketball career.  Lucas played in the NBA for 14 years and was a member of the 1986 Houston Rockets team that made it to the NBA finals, where they lost to the Boston Celtics.  He is also currently 24th on the all-time career assists list. Lucas served as the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs (1992-1994); vice president and general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers (1994-1996); assistant coach of the Denver Nuggets (1999-2002); and, head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers (2002-2004).

Lucas did play some professional tennis during the off-season of his pro basketball career. In addition to serving on the Black Tennis & Sports Foundation Board, he competed in seven Grand Prix professional tennis tournaments. In 1973, in the Louisville, Kentucky Grand Prix tournament, Lucas lost in the round of 64 to Geoff Masters of Australia 1-6, 0-6. In the same tournament, Lucas and John Whitlinger lost to Bill Bowrey and Dick Crealy of Australia 1-6, 4-6 in the round of 32. In the 1973 Merion, PA Grand Prix tournament he lost to Jeff Austin 4-6, 4-6. In that same tournament, in the round of 16 doubles event, Lucas and Vic Seixas lost to John Paish of Britain and Jeff Simpson of Australia 6-3, 1-6, 3-6. In the 1979 San Jose Grand Prix tournament, he lost in the Round of 32 to John James of Australia 3-6, 2-6. In the 1979 Raleigh Grand Prix tournament, he lost in the round of 64 to Gordon Jones of the US 1-6, 1-6. In that same tournament, Lucas and Fred McNair IV lost in the semifinals to John Austin and Billy Martin 5-7, 1-6.

Lucas had success playing World Team Tennis with the San Francisco Golden Gaters in 1976 and the New Orleans Sun Belt Nets in 1978. In addition, in 1975, he was the head coach of the Houston Wranglers, a team that included tennis legend Steffi Graf as their star player. In the 1980s, Lucas also coached legendary professional tennis player and 2011 Black Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee Lori McNeal.

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Pioneer

Virginia Glass – In 1991, Glass made history by becoming the first female president of the American Tennis Association (ATA). She served as president for two two-year terms. In addition, Glass was the first woman of color to serve on the USTA executive committee.  In 1969, she co-founded the Mountain View Tennis Club in San Diego, CA and was one of the original founders of the San Diego District Tennis Association. Glass’ long service with this influential organization included serving as president and at-large board member.  She was also one of the original founders of the San Diego Umpires Association and served as a West Coast editor for Black Tennis Magazine.  In 1988, Glass won the Women’s 60-and-over division of the International Tennis Federation Veterans Championship. In 2008, Glass received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) for her work with local tennis organizations and Community Development.

Glass served on the ATA’s junior development committee and as a board member of the Black Tennis & Sports Foundation.   Over the last 70 plus years, she has volunteered at virtually every level of organized tennis both in the ATA and the USTA. In addition to her volunteer work, Glass was a very successful tennis parent who is the proud mother of Sidney and Luis Glass who were top junior players in the USTA Eastern Section. Sidney Glass played tennis at the University of Wisconsin and Luis Glass went on to be an All-American tennis player at UCLA. In 2010, Glass was inducted into the San Diego Tennis Hall of Fame.

 

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Pioneer

Bessie Stockard – In 1971, Stockard won her first and only ATA Woman’s Singles Championship. She went on to win 12 ATA national titles in a combination of events including: women’s singles, women’s doubles, mixed doubles, senior woman’s singles and doubles.  She was one of the best tennis players in the country and had an opportunity to play on the Virginia Slims women’s professional tennis tour from 1971 to 1974.  Stockard was twice chosen to represent the Mid-Atlantic tennis team in the Mid-Atlantic Sears Cup.  She qualified and represented Washington, DC on two occasions in the Senior Olympics.   She was tennis coach for the Montgomery College Women’s Intercollegiate tennis team and led that team to two NCAA national championship tournaments.  Stockard is a two-time Regional XX Tennis Coach of the Year and is founder and director of the Bessie Stockard Girls and Boys Three-Sport Camps. This camp provided basketball, tennis and swimming training for participants.

Stockard was inducted into the Eastern Board of Officials Hall of Fame in 1998, the Tuskegee University Sports Hall of Fame in 1993, the District of Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 2012, and the USTA Mid Atlantic Section Hall of Fame in 2013. She made history by becoming the first African American female tennis player to integrate the Bitsy Grant Tennis Club (Atlanta, GA) and the Kenwood Country Club (Bethesda, MD).

 


 Pioneer

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Contributors

Sydney Llewellyn – Nicknamed “Mr. Tennis”, Llewellyn coached and managed many of the best black tennis players in the country during and immediately after racial segregation in the sport. The players he worked with included: Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, Wilbert Davis, Robert Davis, Arthur Carrington, Donald Ringgold, Tom Jones, Michael O’kala, Louis and Sydney Glass and many others.  Llewellyn was born in the Caribbean and worked as a New York City taxi drive when he first came to the US in 1930. He started teaching tennis at the courts in Harlem (affectionately called the “Jungle”) in the mid- 1940s. These legendary courts are located at 151st Street and 7th Avenue. Llewellyn also became a member of the Cosmopolitan Tennis Club where he lectured and taught many outstanding black tennis players.

Llewellyn played an important role as Althea Gibson’s touring manager and coach. He helped to guide her to five Grand Slam titles (1956 French, 1957 and 1958 Wimbledon, and, 1957 and 1958 US). He also started her professional tennis career by arranging for her to get paid to play matches before the Harlem Globetrotters basketball games. In 1983 Llewellyn married Althea Gibson. However, their marriage ended in divorce in 1988.

Llewellyn was a tennis innovator in every sense of the word. He wrote a fascinating article called “The Theory of Correct Returns” which described a unique winning strategy for tennis.  Llewellyn was an inventor who developed a product called “Equiform.” This elastic cable device helped players produce ideal stroke production.  In addition, he founded the first prize money tournament for African Americans in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Llewellyn also originated the “Turkey Tournament,” an event designed for players that had never won a tournament. He made history by becoming the first black United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) certified teaching professional. Llewellyn received a lot of awards throughout his life. However, one of the most prestigious was his induction into the USTA Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame in 1993.

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James “Jimmy” Smith – Smith was one of the founding members of the Sportsman’s Tennis Club (STC) in Boston, Massachusetts and served as the Head Coach and CEO of the organization for several years.  The Sportsman’s Tennis Club brought tennis into the lives of thousands of Greater Boston residents, young and old, since it was founded in 1961.  This extraordinary youth program improved the lives of participants by helping them develop their academic, health and social skills.  Hundreds of the young men and women graduating from the STC program have attended college on full or partial tennis scholarships. Thousands more participants have discovered strength, courage and self-determination off the courts as added benefits of their work on the court.  Club founders Jimmy and Gloria Smith were true innovators in community tennis. In 1989, they organized a Sportsman’s USA/Soviet Union Goodwill Tennis Tour which enabled STC juniors to travel to and play in the Soviet Union.

STC is legendary for more than its tennis programs. In 1998, Harvard University’s Men’s Tennis Team made history by playing its first match in the poorest section of Boston against Penn State at Sportsman’s Tennis Club. It is estimated that more than 40,000 youngsters have benefitted from the STC activities and events. These unique programs helped participants learn valuable lessons about tennis and life.  When growing up in Boston, Jimmy played just about every sport, except tennis.  He learned to love the game the game later in life and became determined to play tennis even though it was almost unheard of among urban blacks at the time. He described tennis as “Opening the doors to a whole new world.” His focus and determination opened those doors to tens of thousands of children whose lives have been enriched due to his vision.

Both Jim and Gloria have passed away, but the Sportsman’s Tennis Club continues to provide leadership and guidance to the children of Boston. Jimmy Smith received a lot of awards throughout his life. However, his induction into the USTA New England Tennis Hall of Fame in 1993 was one of his greatest honors.

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Lucille Freeman – Those individuals who have worked behind the scenes to support black tennis legends are often overlooked.  Lucille Freeman was a pioneer in the Washington, DC area for black players.  She served as hostess to many up and coming tennis players – providing room and board and transportation during their visit to the ATA tournament in Washington DC.  Freeman exemplified everything that is good about tennis as she imparted the love of the game to her sons, Clyde (who became President of the ATA), Harold and Thomas.  She became a legend herself by becoming the primary contact person for black tennis in the Washington, DC area.

Lucille Freeman’s nomination and induction into the Black Tennis Hall of Fame is particularly pleasing to many of the black tennis legends who are still alive because they were among the hundreds of beneficiaries of her hospitality and generosity.

 

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Comments
  1. LaRhonda Amos|4:47, 24. June, 2013 Reply

    Dear Dale Caldwell and Bob Davis:
    Thank you to your outstanding organization for annually recognizing the long term and very deserving contributions of these outstanding minority tennis players, contributors and pioneers.

    We the general public need this ongoing education of our past to respect ourselves today and prepare us and our next generations for tomorrow.

    AGAIN I SEND A SINCERE THANK YOU.

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  4. Ronita|3:16, 18. July, 2014 Reply

    The 2013 Class some I know very well as teachers, mentors and friends. I’m very happy to see their legacy honored for the many years of knowledge they all shared. With Sidney, I met many great player’s. I’ll never forget the year I met Virginia Wade in Harlem while training. The ATA is a part of my history and I “thank” all of them for everything.

  5. Coach Stretch|8:28, 9. July, 2016 Reply

    I thought I’d never see information about my Coach Llewellyn, yet here it is. We still play and teach @ the Jungle. Keeping his dream alive!

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