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Former Tennis Coach: Jerry Simmons to be Inducted Into the Louisiana Tennis Association Hall of Fame

NEW ORLEANS – Legendary Ragin’ Cajuns tennis coach Jerry Simmons will be inducted into the Louisiana Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday at the oldest tennis club in the nation, the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club.

 

 

 

Simmons spent 26 years as a head coach in the state of Louisiana and is the winningest coach in both Louisiana and LSU history.

 

 

 

Simmons was hired in 1971 as the men’s tennis head coach at the age of 24 to become the youngest head tennis coach in the nation at the time. In 11 years, Simmons compiled a 214-92 record and turned Louisiana into a national tennis powerhouse.

 

 

 

In 1982, the Ragin’ Cajuns had their best season under Simmons going 24-7 in dual match play and reaching a national ranking of No.12. His squad went 5-0 against SEC teams that year.

 

 

 

One of the things Simmons is most famous for was the Cajuns Classic. Started in 1977, Simmons created the first corporate sponsored college tennis tournament in the nation. The Cajun Classic would become the nation’s premier college tennis event.

 

 

 

“The Cajun Classic would take us to a completely different level,” Simmons said. “The tournament featured 32 of the best college tennis players in the nation in a fall preview of the spring NCAA Championship.”

 

 

 

The tournament helped produce 20 professional grand slam winners or finalists, four No. 1 doubles players in the world, two American Olympic gold medalists, and seven NCAA champions.

 

 

 

During his time at the helm of the Cajuns, Simmons was named Southland Conference coach of the year three times 1977,1978 and 1979. He led Louisiana to six consecutive Southland Conference championships from 1977-1982.

 

 

 

In 1982, Simmons took the head job at LSU where he would post a 278-105 record in 15 years.

 

 

 

Simmons also served as the tournament Director of Allstate Sugar Bowl from 1994-1997,

 

He helped create an International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior Super Event while with the Sugar Bowl. The event would rise from the lowest ITF level from a group 5 to a level 1 in just six years, which was unheard of in ITF history.

 

 

 

Simmons saw future pro’s Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Mardy Fish, Guillermo Coria, and David Nalbandian all play in the Sugar Bowl.

 

 

 

Following his time with the Sugar Bowl, Simmons became the founder and Circuit Director of the American ITF Junior circuit from 1999-2006. In 1998, Simmons created an ITF American Circuit to help young American tennis players earn world rankings with the International Tennis Federation.

 

 

 

Prior to his circuit, there were no entry level Group 5 ITF junior events in the United States.  The American ITF junior circuit allowed Americans to play for world rankings without the expense of traveling outside the country.

 

 

 

In  2001, he partnered with Lafayette tennis professional Chanda Rubin.  Rubin became the title sponsor for the circuit.

 

 

 

”Chanda would help junior players across the nation have opportunities to chase their dreams by funding the circuit.” Simmons added.

 

 

 

The circuit would become the Chanda Rubin American ITF junior circuit and would grow from three tournaments to eight with Simmons directing the circuit until 2006.

 

 

 

The events saw a number of future pros including John Isner, Sam Querry, Ryan Harrison, Ryan Sweeting, Donald Young, Maria Sharapova, Ashley Hackleroad and Brian Baker.

 

 

 

— Ragin’ Cajuns —

 

 

 

  

 

Jeff Schneider
Assistant Sports Information Director
University of Louisiana

Cox Communications Athletics Center 
201 Reinhardt Drive 
Lafayette, LA   70506 

Office: (337) 482-6332 
Cell: (225) 241-8430 
E-mail: 
schneider@louisiana.edu 
www.ragincajuns.com 

Announcement below was originally posted on April 16, 2014

Hall of Fame 2014 Induction
The Louisiana Tennis Patron’s Foundation will induct a player and a former coach into the Louisiana Tennis Hall of Fame.  Ron Holmberg, chairman of the Patron’s Foundation will introduce the 2014 inductees, Peggy Andry of New Orleans and former LSU head tennis coach Jerry Simmons at a dinner held at the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club on Saturday, April 26, 2014.
Peggy Andry is the first women’s member of the NOLTC to be inducted because of her playing accomplishments – beginning as a junior girls champion and continuing her winning ways today in the senior women’s divisions.  Recently, Peggy was ranked in the top-ten nationally in singles in the 60’s and 65’s senior women’s divisions.
Jerry Simmons accumulated a total of 492 wins and only 197 losses in 26 years as a college coach – 11 years at University of Louisiana – Lafayette and 15 years at LSU.  Among his other accomplishments, Jerry created the USTA/ITF junior circuit and introduced corporate sponsorships to college tennis.

The dinner is open to tennis fans, family and supporters of the inductees.  They are encouraged to call Michelle at the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club for details at (504) 899-1572.

* * * * * * * * * *

RON HOLMBERG, Chairman of the Louisiana Tennis Patrons Foundation

Cordially invites you to attend the

LOUISIANA TENNIS HALL OF FAME BANQUET

Honoring the 2014 Inductees

JERRY SIMMONS

PEGGY ANDRY

Saturday, April 26, 2014

New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club

5353 Laurel Street

New Orleans, LA 70115

Cocktails 6:30p.m. Dinner 7:00p.m.

Reservations for Cocktails and Dinner

Please reserve _______ tickets @ $90.00 per person

Amount enclosed $_____________________

Please Select Choice of entrée for each person _____Chicken Duxelles_____Stuffed Redfish

I cannot attend, but enclosed is my contribution of $______

Name ____________________________________________

Telephone _________________________________________

Email____________________________________________

Please make checks payable to:

Louisiana Tennis Patrons Foundation

PLEASE RETURN YOUR PAYMENT & CHOICE OF ENTRÉE

NO LATER THAN APRIL 16, 2014

Louisiana Tennis Association

New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club

5353 Laurel Street

New Orleans, LA 70115

(504) 899-1572

Click here for Jerry Simmons’ Athletic Network Profile.   Jerry was the Men’s Tennis Coach at USL from 1972-82.

Click here for the 2013 Tennis Reunion featuring photo gallery and video of Recognition Social.

Click here for the 1978 Ragin’ Cajuns Tennis Team, Southland Conference Champions.

Peace, Ed Dugas
athleticnetwork@louisiana.edu