Former Illini head coach Craig Tiley will be inducted into the ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame May 26.
May 26, 2010
ATHENS, Ga. - Former Illini head coach Craig Tiley will be inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame Wednesday evening in Athens, Ga., on the campus of the University of Georgia where the Hall of Fame is located. During his 12-year run (1994-2005) at the helm for Illinois, the Durban, South Africa, native captured the program's lone national championship in 2003, in addition to two ITA National Team Indoor titles and was twice honored as Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year.
"I am honored to be inducted into the hall of fame and I want to thank everyone - fans, administrators, trainers, alumni, assistants and players for helping make Illinois tennis the successful program that it is today," Tiley said. "I am forever grateful for everyone's efforts and I am particularly appreciative of Ron Guenther for giving me the opportunity to coach."
Tiley, who left Illinois in 2005 to become the Director of Player Development for Tennis Australia, is the program's all-time leader in wins with an overall record of 274-77, including a 133-22 mark in the Big Ten to go along with eight conference titles. Additionally, Tiley helped produce 17 All-Americans, two national doubles champions (Graydon Oliver and Cary Franklin, 2000 and Rajeev Ram and Brian Wilson, 2003) and Illinois' only singles champion (Amer Delic, 2003). His 2003 and 2004 squads also combined to set an NCAA record with 64 consecutive wins.
"A coach is only as good and his or her players," Tiley said. "We were lucky to have the nation's best student-athletes play for the Illini. All of us remain good friends and are passionate Illini supporters. It's great to see so many former players, friends and family at the event. I am touched that so many would take the time to come to Athens."
Tiley currently is Tennis Australia's Director of Tennis and is the tournament director for the Australian Open. He also has served as co-chair of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) High Performance Committee with Billie Jean King and was the Davis Cup captain for South Africa from 1998-2001.
Current Illini head coach Brad Dancer, who served as associate head coach under Tiley during the 2004-05 season, recalled the qualities that have led to Tiley's success.
"He has an inexhaustible work ethic that's legendary," Dancer said. "That's probably one of his best traits. He's also incredibly bright, perceptive and relates very well to others. I think that combination is why he's had such a magical and successful career."
Joining Tiley in the Class of 2010 are fellow coaches Kent DeMars (South Carolina) and Steve Wilkinson (Gustavus Adolphus), players Mahesh Bhupathi (Ole Miss), Daniel Courcol (Mississippi State), Zan Guerry (Rice), Rodney Harmon (Tennessee/SMU) and Leif Shiras (Princeton), player/coach Jay Lapidus (Princeton/Duke) and contributor Gordon Smith (Georgia).
Players are eligible for election to the ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame 15 years after their last collegiate match and coaches are eligible following retirement. The main criteria for election are college accomplishments as well as honors earned after college. College tennis legend Dan Magill serves as curator for the ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame, which is housed at the University of Georgia.
The ITA Men's Tennis Hall of Fame, which includes over 1,800 rare photos, was inaugurated in 1983 and has inducted more than 200 players, coaches and contributors. Members include the late Arthur Ashe (UCLA), Jimmy Connors (UCLA), John McEnroe (Stanford) and Stan Smith (Southern California).