ITA To Induct Three USC Greats To Hall Of Fame

March 27, 2003

SKILLMAN, N.J. - Three USC men's tennis greats -- players Bill Bond (1962-64) and Robert Van't Hof (1978-80), and former head coach (1981-2002) and player (1959-61) Dick Leach -- highlight this year's ITA Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame inductees. Induction ceremonies will take place on Wednesday, May 21, at the start of the 2003 NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.

This year's trio will give USC 14 members in the ITA Men's Hall of Fame.

The class of 2003 consists of USC's Bond, Leach and Van't Hof, as well as, George M. Church of Princeton, Bob McKinley of Trinity and longtime NCAA referee Jim Russell. Church will be inducted posthumously.

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 team is considered to be one of the best of all time. That Trojan team featured three players and head coach George Toley, that would each go on to be inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame.

Van't Hof, also a three-year letterwinner at USC, won the NCAA singles title in 1980 and was named a singles and doubles ITA All-American in 1978, 1979 and 1980.

Leach retired last season after spending 23 years at the helm of the USC men's tennis program. In his final season he led the Trojans' to the 2002 NCAA team title -- his fourth national championship overall and the program's 16th. Last season Leach was also named Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his career. Leach also played at USC for three seasons and was named an All-American in 1961.

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 in Athens.

The ITA Men's Tennis Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 1983 and has inducted more than 160 players, coaches and contributors. USC's members include player and coach Toley (1940-41, 1954-80) and players Gene Mako (1934-37), Joe Hunt (1938), Bob Falkenburg (1946), Alex Olmedo (1956-58), Ramsey Earnhart (1961-63), Rafael Osuna (1961-63), Dennis Ralston (1962-64), Stan Smith (1966-68), Bob Lutz (1967-69) and 2002 inductee Rick Leach (1984-87).

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