Jim Fowler
Stan Noland
Dick Rossio
Portage Northern

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

Jim Fowler, Flint High School

For those of us who grew up and played tennis in Michigan during the 1950s, the name Jim Fowler was more than prominent. As a high school tennis star under Hall of Famer Kryn Rynbrand at Kalamazoo Central, he played on teams which barely lost the state title three years in a row to Jean HowieÕs Hamtramck squads, the last year by a scant 1/2 point. At Kalamazoo College, he captained the 1956 team which went undefeated, played on teams that won 56 consecutive matches, had a national collegiate ranking of 24, and was an MIAA singles and doubles champion, all under the coaching of the legendary Dr. Allen B. Stowe1 for whom the stadium is named. He and his doubles partner Dean Pinchoff (another familiar name to us historians), reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament. (And, by the way, he quarterbacked KÕs football team).

Upon graduation, Jim was hired at Petoskey High School to coach tennis and football but was lured away by the Flint Tennis Commission to run their summer program in 1964 and to teach at the new Northwestern High School. From 1964 to 1969 he coached tennis and JV football and was so highly th6ught of that in 1969 the local Jaycees presented him with "FlintÕs Outstanding Educator Award." He was also so highly thought of that during these few short years that he was appointed athletic director at Flint Northern High School. For the next 14 years, he shepherded an athletic program through 10 state championships in various sports.

In the summer of 1983, Jim was approached by the owners of the Genesee Valley Tennis Club with an opportunity to become a tennis club owner. One of his former Northern athletes became the head tennis pro and eventually became JimÕs partner in the business. While at GVTC, he worked with advanced tennis players including Phil Krueger and Will Farah who were state high school champions. From 1983-19990, the clubÕs court 10 was occupied for four hours everyday by Mal Washington and his family.

Certainly for a major part of his life, tennis has played a major part of JimÕs life as player, coach and club owner. He has managed the Class A regional in Flint every year since 1975. He created a grass roots summer tennis league that saw 300 kids playing on 12-14 different teams every Thursday during the summers. He coached the Junior Davis Cup Team for 12 years.

At various times, Jim coached boys tennis at four Michigan high schools: Petoskey, Flint Northern, Flint Northwestern, and Carman Ainsworth. His teams compiled a respectable 164-86 record over the years. More importantly, his community and the state were afforded the services of a top-flight, nationally-recognized expert who was repeatedly praised as gracious. Fellow coaches have had nothing but the upmost respect for a man who has done so much for his sport.

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Stan Nolan, Monroe & Monroe C.C.

By any and every measurement, Stan Noland belongs in the Hall of Fame. Consider what he and his programs accomplished.

Stan won no fewer than 15 varsity letters as a high school athlete from Tippecanoe, Ohio and went on to play football and baseball at Ohio Wesleyan University before an injury sidelined him in 1957. He didnÕt stay on the sidelines for long, however. Arriving at tennis-rich Monroe (3 Hall of Famers before his induction & home of Vic Braden) he got into the tennis tradition by founding the boys and girls programs at neighboring Monroe CC in 1979 and between then and 1994, coached them VERY successfully: a total of 8 Huron League titles, 5 regional championships, 11 visits to the state tournaments, 14 invitational titles, 6 unbeaten seasons, and rankings in the top ten 16 times, this for a school that had never had a tennis program until he arrived. Later, once he succeeded Hall of Famer Ward Olson at Monroe High School in 1993-94 (he has been a teacher at MHS for 36 years), he never skipped a beat, winning two league championships, recording an undefeated girls season in 1993, winning 3 regional titles, five invitational titles, and

This success was not accidental. In 1978, Stan took over the local tennis programs of the Parks and Recreation Department, established a Junior Tennis League charter, helped the local YMCA establish their juniors program in 1981, and established the juniors program at the Monroe Racquet Club in 1983. He gave the club so many "free" hours that he was able to use the club for rained-on Saturday tournaments at no cost to competing teams. He runs three USTA junior tournaments each summer, hosts 9 high school 8 team tournaments each year, directs several Parks and Recreation tournaments each summer, and is the director of the Nike Team Summer Tennis Camps held at Monroe High School.

Always active in the association, Stan served as our president from 1987-89. In addition, he was the chairperson for the State Tournament Committee for BOTH boys and girls. Genial and extremely competent, he not only helped organize 20 state tournaments but served as an on-site director of 3 Class B Final Contests.

Stan added a new dimension to high school tennis leadership by being very actively involved in USTA tennis over the past 14 years. He served as an officer of SEMTA for 8 years, was in charge of all tournament scheduling for tennis years, and was Ranking Chairperson for 6. In addition he served on the Ranking Committee of the WTA for four years, served for six years as the Chairperson of the Tournament Committee, and served two years as its Delegate-at-large. For three years, he was an on-site director for the Junior Davis Cup competitions held at Miami University.

None of this has gone unrecognized. StanÕs Coach of the Year awards are numerous, including two MHSTeCA recognitions as the best we have, one in 198 and another in 1996. In addition he was a finalist for the National Federation of lnterscholatic Coaches Association Coach of the Year award last year. He was given the Lombard Award for Community Service for work done with the Western Open Girls 16 National Tournament in 1992 and received a proclamation from the City of Monroe in 1992 for Community Service for work done with the Western Open, a national tournament that he has hosted in Monroe for the past 8 years.

In other words, using virtually any and every measurement, Stan emerges as a highly successful, extremely competent, extraordinarily experienced individual whose very presence in our ranks lends it additional esteem. He does the same for those individuals whom he joins in the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame.

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Dick Rossio, Portage Northern

When you live in the Kalamazoo area, it isnÕt hard to get bitten by the tennis bug." When Dick Rosslo watched Susan Hodgeman practice with her father within the rarified atmosphere of Kalamazoo College's Stowe Stadium, he was inspired. When he played varsity tennis at Kalamazoo Central under Hall of Fame coach Kryn Rynbrand, he became grounded in tennis coaching excellence. When he returned to the Kalamazoo area as, among other things, the coach of the Portage NorthernÕs boys tennis team, he had not only a solid foundation on which to build but an incredible enthusiasm for the possibilities.

Indeed, Dick inherited a wealth of talented players from a community that draws its inspiration from a very powerful college team and from a national tournament that has drawn the best junior players in the country to this community each August. Yet, given the opportunity, his list of accomplishments is rife with the words, "I created," "I started," "I designed," "I built," "I traveled." He started the Greater Kalamazoo Tennis Tournament, started the Greater Kalamazoo All-City Team selection, talked various community groups into contributing toward wind screens, designed and built a tennis tower, storage shed, and hitting board for his school, created a "Notebook" for each player for the end of each season, and created a videotape of season highlights for the annual Awards Night

And the awards were many. DickÕs girls and boys teams won over 300 dual meets, captured 8 regional titles, finished in 2nd place 10 times and qualified for the final tournament 25 times. Over the years, Portage Northern High School has almost invariably found itself among the best in the state (13 times in the top six).

Dick accomplished this under a "Tennis is Fun" philosophy that emphasized 100% concentration as a way of forgetting everything else (stress, grades, teenage woes) for a time in which the only focus was the ball and the goals of oneÕs team. He is as proud that every male (with one exception) and female player he has coached has gone on to a 2 or 4 year college as he is of the many honors that these kids have won. His daughter, who played varsity tennis for four years at Northern for him is now a graduate of Ferris State University and is a certified USPTA pro.

Indeed, DickÕs committment, throughness, and energy are a major reason why the Kalamazoo area is still among the stateÕs tennis powers. Schooled by one Hall of Famer, he assumed the reins of Portage NorthernÕs girls program from another, Sandy Peterson. He now takes his rightful place beside each in the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame.

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