Tim Coleman
Mark Madden
Dick Norton
Chuck Wright
University Liggett

(click on Inductee's name to read 'description')

Tim Coleman, Woodhaven High School

Arthur Ashe once wrote that for junior players the name Kalamazoo is synonymous with Wimbledon. During the '50s and '60s, even such potential superstars as Rod Laver played there, in part because Stowe Stadium was a field of dreams. Naturally, the stadium courts, red clay at the time, played host to the MHSAA state tournament until the advent of the team format, when such facilities as the Midland Community Tennis Center got into the act. Kalamazoo College under George Acker often had the best Division 3 program in the nation. For a time, Western Michigan University attracted some of the best players in the state.

Thus, it makes sense that if you grew up in Kalamazoo, you had an inordinate interest in a sport that did not attract widespread interest until the early '70s You didn't have to go far to witness some of the best young players in the state and nation. It is small wonder that local high schools had strong programs Kalamazoo University High School was the team that ended Hamtramck's streak of 13 consecutive Class A state championships. Kalamazoo Loy Norrix under Hall of Famer Herm Kiewiet won the first Class A state championship under the team format, blowing away the competition by capturing titles in seven of eight flights.

In such an atmosphere it was natural that Tim Coleman would begin playing tennis in a school program as early as the 7th grade. He played on the Milwood Junior High School team and although he didn't play varsity at Loy Norrix High School under Hall of Famer Kryn Rynbrand or at Michigan State University, his love for the game was so strong that he wanted to start a tennis team at Airport High School when he started teaching biology there in the early '70s After a brief stint at Taylor Center High School, he was offered a job teaching Advanced Biology and Math in Woodhaven. By 1980 he was their boys tennis coach, has coached the girls team at the school from 1981-85, and then resumed the post in 1999.

At Woodhaven, Tim developed a program which was - previous to his arrival - struggling to earn any points at the regional tournament. He improved the Warriors to a level in which each year they have a reasonable chance to qualify for the state tournament. He did so by increasing interest in tennis at the school to the point wherein he had to add a junior varsity team. He was also able to get the school district to convert six high school courts, which were in poor condition, to eight high quality courts.

Tim has used the area facilities to host tournaments. For instance, in 2001 he organized and managed the 8-team News Herald Invitational, the 8-team Warrior Classic Invitational, the Mega Red Division League Tournament, and the MHSAA Regional Tournament. In the early days, he was the Woodhaven City Recreation Summer Tennis Director and the middle school intramural tennis instructor.

Indeed, the Warriors have done quite well over the years. Tim's teams have won several league championships, two regional titles, qualified the team for state competition five times, and were MHSTeCA AIl-Academic three times. Tim has coached one state qualifying No.1 Singles player and one all-stater. His record over 26 years of coaching is 134-154-17. For his efforts, he has been voted the association's boys coach of the year twice, once in 1986 and again in 1996.

From 1998-2000, Tim was president of the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association, proudly proclaiming at the end of his term that he is the only president in the history of the organization to have served in two different centuries. A major factor in being elected to the association's highest post was the stellar effort he put forth in leading the association into the computer age by creating a database for the directory back in the days when this was not such an easy task. For 10 years, he established and maintained the system, created the directory, organized the mailings of scorebooks and membership cards, and facilitated the distribution of newsletters. In those days, virtually anything the MHSTeCA asked him to do was breaking new ground.

Tim has held two major positions with the MHSTeCA. His many hours of service to our organization, the establishment and maintenance of a successful grass-roots program, and the leadership he has displayed make him a worthy recipient of Hall of Fame honors.

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Mark Madden, Atherton Community Schools

Mark Madden came to Atherton Community Schools in Burton, Michigan well prepared to establish a tennis program from the ground floor. That's because he had already undergone some experience in starting a program with virtually nothing in place. Having taken some tennis classes in college, he wanted to gain some experience working with middle school and high school students to see if he wished to pursue a career in public school teaching. Therefore, as a member of a swim club in his hometown of Ironton, Ohio, he approached the club's management about giving tennis lessons and starting a tennis team. Utilizing the club's four courts, he conducted classes and developed an interclub team that competed with similar clubs in southern Ohio, Kentucky, and Western Virginia for the three seasons in which he was involved.

Mark enjoyed the experience so much that when he arrived in Burton in 1969 after graduation from Ohio University, he noted at once that the high school had two tennis courts (it presently has six) but no program. It took him until 1973 to convince the board of education to start a team. Twenty-nine years later, he is in the Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame.

However, Mark is not being inducted because his teams won state championships, regional titles, or conference crowns. Instead, he is deservedly recognized for starting and sustaining a flourishing grass roots program that has consistently drawn 20-30 players each season. Increased numbers of tennis players quickly got to the point wherein he had to start a JV squad in 1975 to give the additional kids more instruction and competitive experience. At the most recent tennis banquet, there were 87 in attendance. This is quite a feat in that Atherton is essentially a blue-collar community comprised of players who come from a working class background.

Having established a solid program, Mark left tennis coaching in 1982 to pursue other interests but returned to the courts in 1986 at the pleading of parents, players, and administration in that interest was faltering and many were afraid it might die. Under his direction, tennis in Atherton flourished once again, as evidenced by strong 3rd place finishes behind perennial powers Armada and Almont in regional and conference competition. Mark's efforts were recognized with Regional Coach of the Year honors in 1992,1994, and 1996. In 1995, the Flint Advance Papers chose him Coach of the Year in their season-end review of high school tennis.

As one former player put it, "Passing time has taken the life out of the tennis courts that the school refused to resurface but we still had Mark Madden behind the fence." Indeed Mark has outlasted all of the school's football, basketball, and baseball coaches. Operating in a small Class C school district and using facilities that have deteriorated, he has nurtured a program that year in and year out involves more than 10 percent of the student population of his school. However, he is stepping down this year in that he is now principal of Atherton High School.

Colleague Tim Beardon once wrote: "Beyond the success he has had on the tennis courts, I personally know many young people whose lives have been deeply and profoundly affected by the positive role modeling of Mark Madden. If a teacher and coach's greatest legacy is the enduring success of those under their tutelage as people and knottiest as students or athletes, then he may be the most successful coach and teacher I know. An organization would be the better for having him as a member."

The Hall of Fame Selection Committee agrees. Its already stellar list of the most successful coaches in Michigan High School tennis coaching history is hereby improved by adding the name of Mark Madden.

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Dick Norton, Northville High School

Dick Norton brought a wealth of tennis experience with him when he took over the tennis coaching position at Northville High School in 1965. An excellent high school player in the '50s at Monroe High School, he played on very successful tennis teams under Tim Tambling, who is a member of the MHSTeCA's first Hall of Fame class. Dick followed the feats of Vie Braden, a Monroe native who was state champion, and did almost as well at the state tournament, losing to Dick Potter of Hamtramck in the semifinals (Potter went on to play with Barry McKay on an NCAA championship team at the University of Michigan in the late '50s). Norton added to his competitive tennis experience by playing for Hap Sorenson at Western Michigan University.

When Dick finally got his chance to coach the game that he had learned to play so well, Northville was a Class B school which perennially competed in the tough Cranbrook regional. Nevertheless, under his direction the team finished 2nd a number of times and ended up as high as third at the state tournament in 1967. However, a stint as a junior high assistant principal forced him to relinquish tennis coaching.

But Dick was able to resume in 1980, successfully picking up where he left off after a hiatus of 13 years. Under his leadership, Northville netters amassed nine conference titles, two regional championships, and qualified for state competition three times under the team format and four times under I the old format. Just as in having to play at Cranbrook during regional time, being often placed in the Ann Arbor regional didn't help end-of-the-season aspirations much.

Nevertheless, at one point, Dick's crew put together a winning streak of 64 matches, stretching back to the last four matches of the 1991 season and including undefeated seasons in 1992, 93, 94, 95, and 96. During this time period, Northville won five consecutive league titles and two regional championships. His most notable teams included Mark Schwagle, who was a state runner-up three consecutive years, a state semifinalist in his senior year, and a Prince All-American, who went on to play for Michigan State University until a knee injury sidelined him.

Dick continued to coach tennis even after retiring from teaching in 1990. When he finally quit in 1999 in order to move to Las Vegas, his dual meet record was 212-72.

Understandably, tennis became a very popular sport at Northville High School under Dick's leadership. As one former player put it, "I do not have many memories about my academic endeavors while in high school, yet the fond memories of playing on the tennis team are numerous."

Tim Lutes, Dick's assistant coach, declares, "It goes without saying that his excellent won-lost record and his many undefeated seasons in a row qualify him for this honor. But it is for other reasons that he belongs in the Hall of Fame." Lutes goes on to point out the life skills Dick has instilled over the years: dealing with adversity properly, working hard to blend one's individual skills within a team concept, and always moving forward to meet the next challenge.

Jim Long, a former player who was primarily responsible for Northville's 3rd place finish at the state finals in 1967 and who went on to play for Eastern Michigan once wrote: "All of those years of coaching, all of the players' lives touched, all of the championship teams he has directed, the dedication, the sacrifice, and without a doubt, the true enjoyment he has experienced and his players have experienced are the true attributes of a gentleman who is most deserving to be a member of the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame."

The Hall of Fame Selection Committee agrees.

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Chuck Wright, University Liggett School

For a time, if you played tennis for Bill Murphy or Brian Eisner at the University of Michigan, you were most likely to be a Big Ten Champion. If you played under George Acker at Kalamazoo College, you had a pretty good shot at an NCAA championship. If you played for Grosse Pointe University Liggett under Bob Wood, you were most likely going to be a state champion.

Chuck Wright did both: that is, he both played for and coached beside Wood, and he won lots of state championships in the process. In 1965, Bob's very first year of coaching in what was to become a phenomenally successful tennis program, Chuck played on Bob's first state championship team. As captain of the team in his senior year, he substantially contributed by winning the state doubles championship. Although this was the start of something big for Coach Wood, it was old hat for Wright who had already won the state title in doubles the two previous years. A four-sport athlete at the school, he was captain of the football and basketball teams as well.

Chuck's prowess as an outstanding athlete in high school and college he played tennis for Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut made him eminently qualified to pick up as a coach where he left off as a player. Once the varsity basketball coach at Liggett, he has co-coached with Wood on and off for 17 years since he returned to his alma mater in 1983 and began working with Bob in 1986. Together, the duo has amassed an incredible 14 Class C-D/Division IV state championships, eight for girls and six for boys.

Bob gives substantial credit to Chuck for the school's success in the sport. Coach Wright not only offers expertise which he can demonstrate on the court but is part of a tradition of excellence that challenges the young people at Liggett to emulate. In addition, Chuck is well-known in the area for working with anyone regardless of school affiliation who wishes to improve. Over the years, he trained players in and out of his programs without charging a penny.

This attribute was demonstrated in Chuck's early years when, after college, a stint in the armed services and time spent in as a tennis pro in Andover, Massachusetts, he assumed the direction of the basketball and tennis programs in Charlevoix. Predictably, he was a success. He started in the early '70s when tennis was booming and it was clear to the residents of that Northern Michigan community Chuck knew what he was doing. He taught at the Belvedere Country Club and Little Traverse Racquet Club where he was head pro and even found time to write a weekly tennis column called "Tennis Talk" for the local newspaper.

More to the point, while at Charlevoix, Chuck trained two kids from Petoskey throughout the year and even during the Charlevoix tennis season. These two Petoskey athletes became top players in the state of Michigan and then went on to captain their respective tennis teams at Miami of Ohio and Ohio University.

"My athletes in Charlevoix understood why I was doing this," said Chuck. And when he returned to his alma mater, he continued the practice by working with kids from Grosse Pointe North and South, as well as players from ULS, in the off season. He took these kids to tournaments throughout the Midwest. It was his way of doing something a little special. "I'm simply pleased to help," says Chuck of his work with both nationally-ranked players and mediocre athletes who are just trying to make their tennis teams.

But these who associate with him can testify that he has done much more than merely help out. Chuck has made a considerable impact to an area already blessed with advantages. This includes continuing a tradition of excellence which he himself helped perpetuate as a high school player. Thus, he takes his place beside Liggett coaches Bob Wood and Earl Kimber in the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame.

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