2013 Tennis Hof Inductees
ITA Names 2015 ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame Inductees
The Class of 2015 to be inducted on May 20 in Waco, TX
SKILLMAN, NJ (March 9) - The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced the 2015 inductees for the ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame today. The 2015 class consists of six inductees: coaches Fred Kniffen (University of Texas at Tyler & Tyler Junior College) and Jim Schwitters (University of Hawaii); players Jay Berger (Clemson University), Mark Merklein (University of Florida) and Jeff Morrison (University of Florida); and contributor Tim Russell (Northwestern University).
The 2015 ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame Enshrinement Banquet will be held on May 20 during the NCAA Division I Men's & Women's Tennis Championships at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, May 14-25.
Fred Kniffen led the men's tennis team to two NAIA National Championships in 1989 and 1994 while coaching at the University of Texas at Tyler from 1985-1994. His teams also finished third in the country in 1987 and were national runners-up in 1988. Besides the team championships, Kniffen coached Ken Olivier to the NAIA Singles Championship in 1989 and the duo of Olivier and Chris Harris to the doubles title that same year. Olivier would later become UT Tyler's first tennis coach in the NCAA era. Kniffen first arrived in Tyler in 1973 as tennis coach of Tyler Junior College. During his tenure as coach of the Apaches, Kniffen won four National Championships, was named the National Junior College Men's Coach of the Year in 1980 and 1983, National Women's Coach of the Year in in 1983 and 1984 and helped 31 players earn Junior College All-American honors. Kniffen helped bring the Hardin-Simmons University tennis program to national prominence as a player from 1954-1958. A member of the Hardin-Simmons Hall of Fame, Kniffen won Border Conference singles and doubles titles in 1957 and 1958.
Jim Schwitters retired as the winningest coach in NCAA history with a combined men's and women's record of 1327-610-15 at the University of Hawaii. He coached the men's team for 38 years from 1966-2004 to an 819-409-8 record, and coached the women's team for 25 years from 1966-1991 to a 508-201-7 record. Schwitters coached 26 All-Conference men's players and 9 National Scholar-Athletes, taught the fundamentals of tennis to more than 14, 000 University of Hawaii students for 37 years (1966-2003) and additionally taught at local high schools. As a player, he was named one of the top 10 players of the 20th Century in Hawaii and was Player of the Decade for the 1970s. He won more than 400 tournaments in all eligible age groups, founded the Hawaii division of the USPTA in 1970 and was USTA Hawaii President in 1965.
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