State Stories

26

100 Years of IHSA Tennis: Coaches Reminisce, Tournament History & Milestones

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The Illinois High School Association is proud to celebrate 100 years of the IHSA Boys Tennis State Final Tournament in 2015 with a series of stories chronicling the history, memorable players, and storied programs that have made the last 100 years so special:


Al Kuhn, Evanston (Twp.)
"Some random thoughts after looking at the list of winners through the years, at least up to 1960! I knew or played against so many of them. George O'Connell 1919 became a legendary figure in Chicago tennis as a teaching pro at Exmoor CC and indoors at the Broadway Armory...George Lott '22-'24 is considered one of the greatest doubles players of all time, winning eight grand slam titles...And there's Seymour Greenberg '36 and '37. In his amateur career he was considered one of the very best clay-court players in the world... And Jimmy Evert '40 certainly left his mark on the tennis world, a national junior champion and extraordinary teaching pro. And Marty Riessen, of course, had an illustrious professional career...And I should mention Bob Ryland, runner-up in '38, one of the first black players in the state finals. He too went on to a legendary career in coaching during an era when black players were not welcome in American tournament tennis....In short, my three main points: Illinois HS tennis produced many outstanding players and coaches. Second, the tennis competition helped me grow up by making friends with kids from all over the state. The human contacts and friendships are what I remember and cherish, not the trophies. Finally, the competition provided kids an incentive to practice and improve, and that led to college educations for many kids way back when."

Jay Kramer, Hinsdale (Central)
"I was a rookie coach, 22 years old, following Marty Riessen's father. Hinsdale had won four consecutive state titles and Marty had won four consecutive singles championships. Burns Field, a park, was where we played our matches. The hub of tennis was at the park. I spent all my time, during the season and summer, running programs and tournaments. As a coach my goal was to win a state championship and we did win six years later in 1966. My message was "There is no I in TEAM." I was fortunate to have 16 state champions and 13 runners-up. I am so proud of all my teams and individual players."

Robert Wagemann, Lake Forest (H.S.)
"Winning the state championship with talented players might appear to be the pinnacle of a coach's career, but placing second, third, fourth or perhaps not making the tournament at all with a group of hardworking dedicated student-athletes proved to be so much more rewarding. The flagship tennis program for the past 100 years in Illinois unquestionably has been Hinsdale Central, whose coaches have sustained their winning program through an ethic of hard work, fair play and maximizing the potential of some pretty great talent. Any coach who has had the fortune of an away visit to Hinsdale Central can easily surmise that the banners of success on the tennis fences are there for a reason. Luck and talent will only take you so far and I say "hats off" to a program we ALL should emulate."

TOURNAMENT HISTORY & MILESTONES

Four-Time Singles Champions
Marty Riessen, Hinsdale, 1957-59-59-60
Mike Morrison, Deerfield, 1983-94-95-96

Three-Time Singles Champions
Jerry Weber, Chicago (University), 1912-13-14
George Lott, Chicago (University), 1922-23-24
John Shostrom, Chicago (Parker), 1932-33-34

Four-Time Doubles Champion
Adam Rubenstein, Winnetka (New Trier), 1999-2000-01-02

Three-Time Doubles Champions
Bill Bauman, Oak Park (O.P.-River Forest), 1938-39-40
Bob Smidl, Oak Park (O.P.-River Forest), 1938-39-40
Mack Reynolds, Winnetka (New Trier), 2000-01-02

Champions in Singles and Doubles
Jerry Weber, Chicago (Harvard), 1912-13-14(S), 1914(D)
Ralph Rice, Chicago (Hyde Park), 1920-21(S), 1920-21(D)
George Lott, Chicago (University), 1922-23-24(S), 1924(D)
Paul Stagg, Chicago (University), 1927(D), 1928(S)
Joseph Carrigan, Chicago (Hyde Park), 1930(S), 1930(D)
Art Jorgensen, Chicago (Parker), 1933(D), 1935(S)
Dick Randall, Oak Park (O.P.-River Forest), 1942(D), 1944(S)
Bill Dutton, Oak Park (O.P.-River Forest), 1969(D), 1972(S)
Eddie Grabill, Hinsdale (Central), 2013(D), 2014(S)

Tournament Sites
University of Illinois, 1912-72 (no tournament in 1916, 29 [rain] and 1917-18 [wartime])
Arlington High School, 1973-84
Hersey High School, 1985-2015

Most Team Championships
23, Hinsdale (Twp. / Central)
20, Winnetka (New Trier / East)
11, Oak Park (O.P.-River Forest)
5, Evanston (Twp.)

Most Championships, Head Coach
16, Jay Kramer, Hinsdale (Central)
8, John Schneiter, Winnetka (New Trier)
6, Gerald Witsman, Oak Park (O.P.-River Forest)
4, Keith Anderson, Evanston (Twp.)
4, Clare Riessen, Hinsdale (Twp.)
4, Tim Kajfez, Winnetka (New Trier)