Ojai Connections Run Deep Within Pac-12
Courtesy: Steve Pratt
Pac-12 men's tennis coaches Peter Smith of USC and Peter Wright of Cal may not have had as much success as three of their fellow men's coaching peers playing at The Ojai, but they still both have vivid recollections of playing the tournament in the mid 1980s.
Stanford's John Whitlinger and UCLA's Billy Martin each won the Pac-8 singles title, in 1974 and 1975 respectively, while Washington's Matt Anger was a finalist in 1983 playing for USC. Whitlinger beat Cardinal teammate Pat DuPre, then teamed with him to win the doubles. Martin held off fellow Bruin Brian Teacher and Anger lost to Cal's Randy Nixon all those years ago at storied Libbey Park. Anger regrouped to win the Pac-10 Doubles the following year with Trojan teammate Anthony Emerson.
Playing the team format at Ojai this year will not be anything new for Smith, who coached the Long Beach 49ers in dual matches at the Ojai Racquet Club from 1988 to 1991. Smith played The Ojai Boys' Interscholastic CIF division as a student for San Dieguito High School in Encinitas.
"I would love to say there was a highlight but I lost first round of the CIF division to Stephen Aniston in someone's backyard with 50 of his closest friends watching," said Smith. "Good memory but not a successful one."
Wright said you'd have to check the draws to see how he fared when he played at The Ojai for Cal from 1983-1986. "I didn't have as good a record as many of my colleagues," he said. "I don't remember my exact results, so you might have to dig up a couple of results from the archives. I probably did better in doubles."
On the women's side, seven of the 11 current Pac-12 women's coaches played at The Ojai in various divisions.
Veteran Arizona State women's coach Sheila McInerney's name shows up four times on the list of Ojai winners and finalists as she lost in the Women's Intercollegiate final to USC teammate Barbara Hallquist in 1977 and won the doubles with Hallquist in 1979. She won the Women's Open doubles in 1978 with Hallquist and lost in the 1980 Open doubles final.
Also appearing four times in event finals is UCLA's Stella Sampras Webster, who won the 1989 Pac-10 doubles with partner Mamie Ceniza and in 1991 she teamed with Kimberly Po to win again. In 1988 she made the Pac-10 singles final, falling to Stanford's Lisa Green. In 1992, she won the Women's Open over Lisa Seemann.
Cal coach Amanda Augustus, from Rancho Palos Verdes, appeared in event finals at The Ojai six consecutive years, winning the girls' 16s and 18s doubles titles in the mid-90s, and winning the Pac-10 doubles final in 1997 with partner Claire Curran.
Stanford coach Lele Farood won the 1976 Women's Intercollegiate over Hallquist (USC) while USC's Richard Gallien won the Men's Open singles title in 1983 and was a runner-up in the 1986 Men's Open doubles final.
Arizona coach Vicky Maes lost the Pac-10 singles title in 1997 to Stanford's Julie Scott and Oregon head coach Paul Reber played The Ojai for Arizona State from 1992-94.