Leach, Bond, Van't Hof Headline ITA Induction Ceremony
May 22, 2003
ATHENS, Ga. - The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) inducted six new members into its ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Wednesday (May 21) night at the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships in Athens, Ga.
The Class of 2003 was headlined by USC's Bill Bond, Dick Leach and Robert Van't Hof, as well as George M. Church of Princeton, Bob McKinley of Trinity (Texas) and longtime NCAA Referee Jim Russell. Church was inducted posthumously.
Players are eligible for election to the ITA 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 Hall of Fame, which is housed at the University of Georgia. The enshrinement banquet will be at the Holiday Inn in Athens.
USC's three inductees will give it 14 members in the ITA Men's Hall of Fame. Three is most to be inducted from one school in the same year since Yale sent a trio into the Hall Fame in 1993.
Bond was a member of three straight NCAA titles teams from 1962-64. A three-time ITA All-American, he captured the NCAA doubles title with Dennis Ralston in 1964 and reached the final in 1963. Bond's 1963 USC team is considered to be one of the best of all time. That Trojan team featured four Trojans, including head coach George Toley, who would go on to be inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame.
Leach retired last season after leading USC to the 2002 NCAA team title, the school's 16th overall and fourth in his tenure. Leach was named Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career last season. He succeeded the legendary Toley as USC coach back in 1980 and led the Trojans to 535 victories during his 23 years. Leach also played at USC, where he was an All-American in 1961. Last May his oldest son Rick, a four-time ITA All-American at USC, was also inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame. The Leaches will be the fourth father-son members in the Hall of Fame.
Van't Hof won the NCAA singles title in 1980 (for Coach Leach) and was a three-time All-American from 1978-80. He was also an NCAA semifinalist in doubles in 1980. In recent years, Van't Hof gained notoriety as coach for then No. 1-ranked Lindsay Davenport.
The ITA Men's Tennis Hall of Fame, which includes over 1,800 rare photos, was inaugurated in 1983 and has inducted more than 160 players, coaches and contributors. Members include the late Arthur Ashe (UCLA), Jimmy Connors (UCLA), John McEnroe (Stanford) and Stan Smith (Southern California). The ITA Women's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame is located at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va.