Laura DuPont Selected For Southern Tennis Hall Of Fame Induction

Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Laura DuPont
Laura DuPont

The Southern Tennis Foundation and USTA Southern announced today three tennis luminaries are scheduled for induction into the 2018 class of the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame.

Laura Dupont (deceased), of Charlotte, N.C. who once lived in Chattanooga, Dan Santorum, of Hilton Head Island, S.C. and Tom Smith, of Alpharetta, Ga., will be inducted January 20, 2017 in Atlanta.

For the first time, the event will be named the Lucy Garvin Southern Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Garvin, of Greenville, S.C., was a 2005 inductee, former USTA and USTA Southern president.

Established in 1977 with the induction of Bitsy Grant and Ham Richardson, the Hall of Fame will grow to 104 members after the induction ceremony. Other notable members include Stan Smith, Chanda Rubin, Roscoe Tanner, Linda Tuero, Gardner Mulloy and Lucy Garvin. The Southern Tennis Foundation’s website contains information on the hall, inductees and its charitable mission. The hall is located in the USTA Southern offices in Peachtree Corners, Ga.

Laura DuPont

By M. Marshall Happer III, Southern Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, 1995

Laura DuPont is arguably the finest female tennis player ever from North Carolina, having reached a world ranking of No. 9. She won the 1979 Canadian Open, the 1977 German Open and 1977 US Clay Courts. Additionally, she reached the finals of seven other WTA tournaments in singles or doubles.

She also was a star basketball player in high school and in college. DuPont was the first female All-American at UNC and won the first national championship for UNC. DuPont is being inducted into her fourth hall of fame: ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame, North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame and the Charlotte Catholic High School Hall of Fame.

Her story and legacy are important for young girls everywhere who dream of success in sports.

DuPont was born on May 4, 1949, in Louisville, KY, lived in Chattanooga, TN, and moved to Charlotte, NC, in 1964. She graduated from Catholic High School excelling in basketball (38-point average), but there was no girls’ tennis program. However, DuPont became the North Carolina junior 16s and 18s state champion in 1965 and 1966 while in high school. In 1966, she was also the North Carolina state adult doubles champion with Julia Anne Holt. Next year, she was the North Carolina state adult singles champion and also doubles champion with Holt. In 1969, Laura was the state adult singles champion.

She attended Greensboro College for two years and then the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, graduating in 1972 with a B.A. degree in Physical Education. At UNC, Laura lettered in basketball with a 30-point scoring average. In tennis, she went undefeated in match play. UNC men’s tennis coach, Don Skakle, was unsuccessful in trying to obtain permission to have her play on the men’s team.

DuPont was the first woman at UNC to ever win a United States National Collegiate Championship, when on June 20, 1970, at New Mexico State in Las Cruces, NM, she defeated Linda Tuero of Tulane in the finals 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. Tuero is also a Southern Tennis Hall of Fame inductee.

DuPont always considered being the first female national champion at UNC to be her most memorable accomplishment. In 1998, she told the Raleigh News & Observer as Tar Heel of the Week. In 100 years or 200 years, no one will know I won the Canadian Open, but I will still be the first at UNC.”

In 1970 she was named the North Carolina AAU Athlete of the Year. In 1971, she won the Southern Championships and was ranked No. 1 by USTA Southern.

In 1977, she was ranked No. 10 in the United States. In 1980, the USTA ranked Laura and Pam Shriver No. 4 in doubles in the United States. The USTA ranked Laura and Barbara Jordan No. 8 in doubles in 1981 and No. 11 in doubles in 1982.

In recommending DuPont for induction, Shriver wrote, “We won tournaments, played against the best in the world and even qualified for the Tour Championships. … I remember losing to Laura in singles, when she beat me with her smart tactics and patience. I recall many doubles matches together when she was the level-headed team captain helping us think our way to win.”

Others who wrote in their support for Dupont were Billie Jean King, USTA President & CEO Katrina Adams, Southern Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Mildred Southern and other notables.

Famous tennis journalist and International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Steve Flink described her as “a formidable clay-court player known to her friends as ‘Flash’.”

She earned the respect of her peers on the international world tour and was elected to serve the WTA for 10 of the formative years for women’s professional tennis including two years as vice president and four years as treasurer. In 1974, she was a leader in the development of the first computer rankings system for women’s professional tennis.

In the mid-1980s she 1984 the US 35s singles and doubles tournaments.

After retiring from the international tour, DuPont became the manager and teaching pro at Shriver’s Orchard Indoor Tennis Club in Baltimore until the club was sold in 1996. In 1997, she moved back to Chapel Hill to manage and teach tennis at the Chapel Hill Tennis Club.

Sadly, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and considered her fight against her cancer to be “the greatest match of my life.” She passed away on February 20, 2002, at Duke Hospital in Durham, NC at age 52.

Laura DuPont, North Carolina, 2018

  • Reached a world ranking of No. 9
  • She won the 1979 Canadian Open, the 1977 German Open and 1977 US Clay Courts
  • Played in the finals of seven other WTA tournaments in singles or doubles
  • Served on the WTA Board of Directors for 10 years and as vice president and treasurer
  • First female All-American at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • Won the first national championship for University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  • Previously inducted into three other halls of fame: ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame., North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame and the Charlotte Catholic High School Hall of Fame


2017 THSCAA All-State Soccer Teams

THSCAA All State DII A Forwards Livi Tanzer 9 St Georges Olivia Hoffman 12 CCS Maddy Stolnicki 12 ECS Caroline Betts 8 CPA Courtney Rabb 12 USN Holeh Heydari 12 USJ Faith Gober 11 DCA Midfielders Ruth Fitzgerald 12 St Georges Emma Bennett 11 St Georges Addie Henry 11 CCS Vayle McKay 12 CPA Emily ... (click for more)

Tennessee Wesleyan Women's Soccer Advances To Sweet 16 In Orange Beach, Ala.

The Tennessee Wesleyan Lady Bulldogs, featuring several Chattanooga area players, beat the number 6 team in the nation, Keiser University, 2-1 to advance to the NAIA final 16.   Els van Hooijdonk (Little Mountain, Australia) and Nicole Broderick (Kingston, Jamaica) both scored for the Lady Bulldogs. Chattanoogans contributing to the win were Hannah Dearing, Emiley ... (click for more)

3 People Shot Early Saturday Morning; 1 Is Killed; 2 Victims Are Known Gang Members

Ladarius Cross, 28, Terrance Careathers, 26, and a juvenile were shot early Saturday morning. Cross was killed.   Chattanooga Police responded to a motor vehicle crash at 5:16 a.m. in the 1400 block of Roanoke Avenue.   Upon arrival, Chattanooga Police Officers located the single vehicle crash with two people suffering for apparent gunshot wounds. The driver, ... (click for more)

Longest-Serving County Official Knowles Is First In Line To Sign Up For New Term

Bill Knowles is one of the longest-serving officials in Hamilton County history, and he's not through yet. County clerk since 1974, he was the first in line on Friday morning to pick up his petition for re-election. Then he beat everyone back with the completed form. Mr. Knowles said, "I ran in 1974 on a campaign of ending the long tag lines. We put in a tag by mail system ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Should Be Problem Solvers Around The City

Re: Roy Exum’s “Stay, Signal Mountain, Stay”  Well this article is something to think about. I think the split could go either way, and Signal Mountain schools would still flourish, as they have done for the past several years. What I'm worried about is why Signal Mountain has not yet had the guts to go be problem solvers at Howard, or Tyner, or Central. Why do ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The School Board Bullies

When the good people of Signal Mountain join with their loved ones to give thanks for many, many blessings on this hallowed Thursday, you can bet the Hamilton County Department of Education will be on nary a list. For the past year a diligent advisory committee has studied the feasibility of forming its own school district and exactly one week prior to Thanksgiving, the misguided ... (click for more)