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Midwest

USTA Midwest Section Hall of Fame 2021 Inductees

January 07, 2022
We are proud to announce the 2021 inductees to the USTA Midwest Section Hall of Fame! Congratulations to the following individuals on this honor:
LESLIE ALLEN

Leslie Allen grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and while she was unranked as a junior player in the USTA, she ultimately found herself with a career-high ranking of #17 in the world. Her success in tennis began by winning the 12s ATA National Championship, but her tennis dreams did not really spawn until her senior year in Cleveland at Glenville High School when, thanks to Title IX, she successfully sued the Ohio High School Athletic Association in 1973 to become the first girl to play on a boys team. Tennis then took her to the University of Southern California where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in speech communication while also helping the Trojans win the National Championship in 1977.  

 

After joining the WTA tour in 1977, Allen won the Avon Championships in Detroit in 1981, becoming the first African American woman to win a significant pro tennis tournament since Althea Gibson in 1958. In her 10 years on the professional tour, Allen was a top 20 player, won a combined nine WTA tour singles and doubles titles, and was a Mixed Doubles finalist at the 1983 French Open.

Allen retired from professional tennis in 1987 but remained very involved in the sport. She was a television commentator, WTA Tour Global Event Manager, Director of Development and Public Relations for the Jackie Robinson Foundation, was the first African American woman to serve as a WTA Tournament Director and she also served on the WTA Board of Directors. In 2002, she founded the Leslie Allen Foundation/Win4Life which introduces youth to the behind-the-scenes careers in tennis.  

 

An International Tennis Hall of Fame honoree and a member of the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame, Leslie now resides in the New York City area and is a Win4Life mentor, motivational speaker, and Tennis Channel contributor.


BOBBY BAYLISS

For 44 years, Robert “Bobby” Bayliss coached collegiate tennis, dividing his time between three institutions: The United States Naval Academy, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and finally 26 seasons at The University of Notre Dame. He experienced enormous success at each one and remains one of the most accomplished college tennis coaches of all time. 

 

During his 15-year tenure at Navy, Bayliss was named Mid-Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year for three consecutive seasons, held the honor of being named the 1980 National Coach of the Year by the USPTA, and was also Maryland Professional of the Year. Before landing at Notre Dame, Bayliss spent three years at MIT leading the team to two consecutive New England Intercollegiate titles. 

 

Under coach Bayliss, Notre Dame experienced 22 NCAA Championship berths, won a conference title eight times and held nine conference tournament titles. 

The accomplishments of his teams and players were staggering and several of his players enjoyed enormous success such as David DiLucia who became the #1 ranked player in college tennis in 1992. While at Notre Dame, Bayliss was named Big East Conference Coach of the year five times, was honored as National Coach of the Year twice, was a five-time Midwest Region Coach of the Year, was named the top coach in the conference on 14 occasions and in 1995 was honored with the Meritorious Service Award for his extraordinary contributions to college tennis and his service to the collegiate tennis community.

 

At all institutions, Bayliss was involved in more ways than just through coaching. He often spent time in the classroom as a professor, was responsible for improvements at various facilities, hosted free clinics, lectured at conventions and mentored assistant coaches. Bayliss has previously been induced into the Halls of Fame for Thomas Jefferson High School, the University of Richmond, the Richmond Tennis Association, the Blue Gray National Classic and is a member of the 2013 class of the ITA Hall of Fame. On top of all this, in 2019, Bayliss became a published author with his book Cross Court Reflections chronicling his final season at Notre Dame.

 

Bayliss remains involved with Notre Dame University and resides nearby in Granger, Indiana.


LORNIE KUHLE

Growing up in Decatur, Illinois, Lornie found great success on the tennis court, placing 3rd in the Illinois State High School Championships in 1962 before going on to help his team at Pan American University win the NAIA National Team Championships in 1964 and 1965. At one point, Kuhle was ranked in the top 10 in United States Men’s Doubles with Tom Edlefsen as well as winning the USTA Father/Daughter Championships in 2004. But it was a coach and Tournament Director where Kuhle really made an impression.  

 

Perhaps most famously, Kuhle was the coach and manager for Bobby Riggs during the Battle of the Sexes in 1973, which he helped to promote, and later acted as consultant for the Hollywood movie rendition of it in 2017. Kuhle also spent five years as a traveling coach and practice partner for Jimmy Connors as well as the personal coach of Chico Hagey who later won Kalamazoo and attended Stanford. Additionally, Kuhle coached the Los Angeles Strings in the World Team Tennis League.  

Kuhle became the Tennis Director at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas and held that position for 45 years.

 

In recent years, Kuhle acquired the Easter Bowl, the “Super Bowl” of Junior Tennis, as well as being named by the USTA as Tournament Director of the USTA Billie Jean King Girls National 16s and 18s Championships. Both of these events have grown in stature through Kuhle’s leadership. 

 

Kuhle opened and developed the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club and Museum in Encinitas, California in 1995 and resides in San Diego where he continues to be involved in multiple tennis projects. 


ABOUT THE HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY

The induction ceremony will take place February 11, 2022 at The Alexander in Indianapolis, Indiana during the USTA Midwest Annual Meeting.

 

Show your support for the Hall of Fame inductees and the 2021 USTA Midwest Award Winners by purchasing a congratulatory message to be printed in the Hall of Fame program and added to the USTA Midwest Tennis & Education Foundation website. The ad can be anything from a congratulatory message for these extraordinary individuals on their contributions to tennis or can be used as an opportunity to increase your business exposure within the tennis community. These funds directly support the Foundation.  We can even help you craft your special message!  To purchase your message using our secure online system, CLICK HERE.

If you have questions about the Hall of Fame program book, reach out to Elizabeth Dickison at elizabeth@midwest.usta.com.

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