Women's tennis has long been one of the most successful and high profile sports at Rollins College. The first tennis courts were built on the campus in 1895, and the school began playing intercollegiate women's tennis in 1939. In the proceeding 58 years, the program has produced scores of national champions, top-ranked players and champions of such prestigious tournaments as Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open.
The Rollins tennis player of today is following in the footsteps of some of the top performers in women's tennis history.
Pauline 'Bobbie' Betz Addie '43 was a four-time U.S. National Champion and the 1946 Wimbledon Champion. Shirley Fry Irvin '49 claimed both the U.S. National Championship (now the U.S. Open) and the Wimbledon Championship. Dorothy Bundy Cheney '45 was champion of the Australian Open and has continued her career by winning more than 170 national senior titles. Betty Rosenquest Pratt '47 was a Wimbledon semifinalist.
Other prominent Tar alums who went on to enjoy standout professional careers include Nancy Corse Reed '69, Wendy Overton and Mona Schallau Guerrant '71. Reed has won 62 national titles and her world ranking reached as high as #16. Guerrant and Overton were both members of the prestigious U.S. Wightman Cup and both held world rankings in the top 10 during their careers.
Many of Rollins top standouts competed under the guidance of longtime head coach Virginia 'Ginny' Mack. As coach of the Tars from 1962-1986, Mack coached 16 future professional players while compiling a 305-125 dual match record. Among the players coached by Mack were Margie Cooper '72, current Tar head coach Bev Buckley '75, Nancy Yeargin Furman '77, Wendy White Prausa '82 and Mary Dinneen '87.
The Rollins tennis program has continued its great tradition in recent years under the guidance of Bev Buckley. The Tars' remained competitive at the Division I level before moving to Division II in 1993. In 1995 Rollins reached the semifinals of the NCAA Division II National Championship for the first time.' They again advanced to the National Semifinals in 2000 and have since reached as far as the quarterfinals.
It was a banner year for Rollins in 1994 when the Tars boasted both the Freshman of the Year in Taci Purcell, and the Player of the Year in Vanessa Caddick.
Over the last decade, under the continued guidence Bev Buckley, the Tars have made six NCAA Tournament appearances. Over that time Rollins has placed six individuals on the All-SSC First Team, along with three doubles teams.