Hall of Famer
One of three new inductees in the U.S. Professional Tennis Assocation Hall of Fame, Steve Wikinson (left) is honored by USPTA President Tom McGraw. (Submitted photo)
- Bio Box
With 39 years at the helm of the Gustavus Adolphus College’s men’s tennis program in St. Peter, Steve Wilkinson surely touched many lives. He was the head men’s tennis coach from 1971-2009 and retired from the school as the winningest coach in the history of men’s collegiate tennis with 923 victories.
Wilkinson’s squads have won two NCAA Division III titles (1980 and 1982) as well as 35 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles. In addition, his players claimed six national doubles titles, and four national singles titles. He coached 46 players to 87 ITA All-America honors (including current ATP tour player Eric Butorac), 103 players to 226 All-Conference honors, and five CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. Wilkinson has also played a key role in the fundraising and construction of the Gustavus Adolphus College’s tennis facilities, which are considered to be among the finest in the nation.
The former coach has been involved in numerous national tennis organizations, having served on the executive committees of the USPTA, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and the USTA. He was inducted into the Iowa Tennis Hall of Fame in 1974, the Northern Tennis Association Hall of Fame in 1983 and the USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame in 1999.
In addition to his coaching abilities, Wilkinson was also an outstanding player in his own right. He played collegiate tennis at the University of Iowa where he finished second at the No. 1 doubles position at the Big Ten Conference Championships his senior season.
After college, Wilkinson played competitive tennis for many years and was ranked No. 1 in the United States in the 45, 50, 55 and 60-and-over divisions. He has represented the United States in the Dubler Cup, Perry Cup and Austria Cup competitions, winning the world championship in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1989 and finishing second in Berlin, Germany, in 1992.
The former coach, along with his wife, Barbara, founded the Tennis and Life Camps, considered to be among the finest tennis camps in the country. For more than 35 years, the couple dedicated their time and effort to improving tennis performance of youth and adults while teaching life lessons that can be used off the court.
Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013 11:35 am
Updated: 12:32 pm, Thu Oct 3, 2013.
Posted on Oct 3, 2013
ORLANDO – Steve Wilkinson, Nick Bollettieri and Vic Braden joined the ranks of only 13 others when they were inducted into the United States Professional Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame on Sept. 27 at the USPTA World Conference during the annual awards presentation at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando.
Wilkinson of St. Peter, was the head men’s coach at Gustavus Adolphus College for 39 years from 1971-2009 and is the winningest coach in the history of men’s collegiate tennis with 923 victories. He has coached 46 players to 87 all-American honors (including current ATP tour player Eric Butorac). He founded the Tennis and Life clinics/camps more than 25 years ago and has dedicated his time and effort to improving tennis performance of youth and adults while teaching life lessons that can be used off the court. He has been a USPTA member since 1972.
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Thursday, October 3, 2013 11:35 am.
Updated: 12:32 pm.