The enduring legacy of the University of Redlands men’s tennis program was demonstrated once again with the induction of Doug Verdieck ’70 into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in Orlando, Florida. We were honored to nominate Doug for this well-deserved distinction, and I was immensely proud to represent the University and the Bulldog tennis program at the May 19 event.
The ITA Hall of Fame has only inducted some 260 players, coaches, and contributors since 1983, based on accomplishments in college and honors earned afterward. Doug played tennis at the University from 1967–70 under the coaching of his legendary father, the late Jim Verdieck, whom everyone—including Doug—called “Coach.” During this time, Doug achieved many accolades, including four-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national champion, four-time NAIA singles national champion, three-time NAIA doubles national champion, and four-time ITA All-American. He won a staggering 51 of 52 matches played in the NAIA Tournament during his time at Redlands. Later, he served as director of Seattle Tennis Club for 33 years.
During his remarks at the event, Doug described Redlands as “a small school with a big program” and recalled playing against (and often defeating) Division I schools such as University of California Los Angeles, University of Southern California, and Stanford University. It is particularly poignant that Doug and Jim (who received the honor in 1988) are one of only six father-son pairs to have been inducted into this elite hall of fame.
Jim cultivated a championship environment within the U of R men’s tennis program, one we strive to uphold and build on each year. One of Jim’s routines was the training run at South Redlands’ Rossmont Drive, and we continue the practice to this day. Alumni from seven or eight decades come back to Redlands for our annual Tennis Alumni Weekend, united in a proud legacy; after 21 years of coaching tennis at Redlands, I still find the turnout to this event inspiring.
A further testament to the lifelong relationships the Redlands tennis program creates, Steve Warfield ’70, one of Doug’s teammates, and his wife, Marilee, attended Doug’s induction ceremony. In addition to Doug’s wife, Juli, also in attendance were several of Doug’s former students, including Erica Perkins Jasper, who was recently named athletic director of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. (Doug wished her great luck except when C-M-S plays Redlands!) Another of Doug’s former students, Patrick Galbraith, is now chair of the board and president of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) after a successful career as a professional tennis player.
It was great to attend the ceremony, see so many familiar faces from the tennis world, and note how many of our tennis alumni still take great pride in this program. For that, I am extremely grateful.
To learn more about plans for Bulldog tennis as part of the Campaign for Bulldog Athletics, visit http://foreveryours.redlands.edu/bulldog-athletics/.