As the calendar year comes to a close, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) would like to celebrate milestones of ITA Hall of Fame members whose anniversaries were marked during this past year. Today, we reflect on five of these milestones.

100 Years Since the First Wightman Cup Was Held (1923) 

Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman was among the most influential figures in tennis, as well as one of the most beloved. “Mrs. Wightie” is celebrated for her lifelong work promoting women’s tennis, embodied in the Ladies International Tennis Challenge, better known as the Wightman Cup. 

Wightman’s battle for international competition in women’s tennis resulted in the Wightman Cup challenge between the U.S. and Great Britain, first played in 1923. Wightman served five years as a team member and 13 years as captain. Following her time as a team member and captain, the competition continued until 1989. The Wightman Cup was the direct inspiration for the Billie Jean King Cup (former Fedex Cup & Federation Cup) which is still played to this day. 

Wightman attended the University of California at Berkeley. As a collegian, Wightman played her first US National Women’s Championship, now known as the US Open Championships, in 1909, where she won the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles. Wightman would return to the tournament in 1910 to defend all three of her titles. Upon graduation from Cal in 1911, Wightman would once more win the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles for the third consecutive year. 

Wightman was inducted into the inaugural ITA Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995. 

50 Years Since Dick Gould Led Stanford Men’s Tennis to First of Seventeen NCAA Titles (1973) 

In 1973, legendary Stanford Men’s Tennis Coach Dick Gould brought home the program’s first NCAA team national championship, defeating the USC Trojans in the finals. Gould would go on to win an astounding 17 total NCAA national championship titles (1973-74, ’77-78, ’80-81, ’83, ’86, ’88-90, ’92, ’95-98 and 2000), the most championships won by an NCAA coach to date.

In a remarkable statistic comparable to none, any player who competed under Gould during any four-year period from 1969-2003, won at least one NCAA championship title. 

Upon retirement in 2004, Gould racked up an astonishing 776-148 (.840) overall record during his 38 seasons at Stanford. In 2006, Gould was inducted into the ITA Men’s Hall of Fame.

35 Years Since Andy Brandi Led Florida Women’s Tennis to NCAA and ITA Team Indoor Championship Titles (1988) 

Under the leadership of Coach Andy Brandi, the Florida Gators captured the 1988 NCAA Championship title, defeating Duke 5-1 in the championship match. The Gators did so in fine fashion, going undefeated (27-0) on the season, a feat they would accomplish twice more when they won the 1992 and 1996 NCAA titles. In addition to three NCAA Championships (1992, ‘96 & ‘98), Brandi’s teams won six ITA National Team Indoor Championships (1988, ‘91, ‘92, ‘96, ‘97, ‘99) and had six undefeated regular seasons (1987, ‘91, ‘96, ‘97, ‘98).

Inducted into the ITA Women’s Hall of Fame in 2012, Brandi stepped away from the collegiate game in 2001 after a brilliant 17-year career. Brandi ended his career with a 460-43 record (.915), the all-time highest winning percentage among college coaches who have coached a minimum of five years.

30 Years Since Lisa Raymond Won Her Second Consecutive NCAA Singles Title, Ended the Season No. 1 ITA Nationally Ranked Singles Player (1993) 

In back-to-back record breaking seasons, Lisa Raymond led the Florida Women’s Tennis team to its very first NCAA national team championship title in 1992, before netting the NCAA singles titles in 1992 and again in 1993. Throughout the duration of 1993 NCAA singles championship, Raymond lost a total of just 23 games, the fewest games lost by an eventual champion. In the championship match, Raymond defeated North Carolina’s Cinda Gurney 6-3, 6-1 in a swift 49 minutes. By the end of the 1993 season, Raymond was the No. 1 ITA nationally ranked singles player.

On tour, Raymond captured a total of 11 career grand slam doubles and mixed doubles titles. Raymond reached a career high world singles ranking of No. 15 and doubles ranking of No. 1. She was a member of the 2004 US Olympic Women’s Tennis Team. In 2012, Raymond was inducted into the ITA Women’s Hall of Fame.

25 Years Since James Blake Won the ITA All-American Singles and Doubles Titles (1998) 

Prior to setting his sights on the professional tour, James Blake stormed through his college career at Harvard, capturing the men’s singles and doubles titles at the 1998 ITA All-American Championships. In singles, Blake defeated Notre Dame’s Ryan Sachire 6-3, 7-6 to take the title, while in doubles, he and teammate Kunj Majmudar would win 6-7, 6-3, 7-5 over the Fighting Illini’s Jeff Laski and Gavin Sontag. Blake found additional success with the ITA, being named the 1999 ITA National Player of the Year and winning the 1999 ITA Rolex National Indoor Championships.

Following his time at Harvard, Blake went on tour, reaching a career high singles ranking of No. 4 in the world and winning a total of 17 (10 singles, 7 doubles) ATP titles. Blake was inducted into the ITA Men’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

20 Years Since Mary Ellen Grant Gordan Captured the NCAA Division III Singles Championship (2003) 

As a member of the Emory University women’s tennis team from 2000-2004, Grant (Gordon) compiled one of the most decorated tennis careers in NCAA history. She captured the NCAA Division III Singles Championship in 2003, and again in 2004. In addition to the NCAA title, Grant (Gordan) was a four-time national doubles champion. 

Grant (Gordan) also led the Eagles to four straight University Athletic Association crowns and was the first female, in any sport, in conference history to receive the MVP award every season of her career. She graduated as the Eagles all-time record holder in singles and doubles with a record 115 singles wins. Grant (Gordan) was inducted into the Emory Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 and the ITA Women’s Hall of Fame in 2019.

About the ITA Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men’s and Women’s Halls of Fame aspire to preserve and celebrate the history and further the development of intercollegiate tennis through the collection of historic memorabilia and with inductions of notable players, coaches, and contributors.

About the ITA – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is the governing body and coaches association of college tennis, both an advocate and an authority for the sport and its members. Comprised of 1,260 colleges and universities, 20,000 student-athletes, 1,700 varsity programs, 3,000 coaches, and 1,350 college tennis officials, the ITA empowers college tennis coaches at all levels to deliver vibrant tennis programs that are vital to their college communities and transformational to their student-athletes. Follow the 2023-24 college tennis season on the ITA website and ITA social channels on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

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