The University of Tennessee men’s tennis program inducted the first five members into its new tennis hall of fame Friday night as many former Vol netters returned to Knoxville for the lettermen’s reunion. Paul Annacone, Bill Davis, Mike DePalmer Sr., Andy Kohlberg and Chris Woodruff made up the inaugural class.
“This is something that we needed to do,” head men’s tennis coach Sam Winterbotham said. “This University has a tennis history that few schools in the country can match. It only seemed right that we begin to honor the players that have helped make this tennis program what it is, one of the elite in the country.”
The first class is made up of three former All-America players, the captain of UT’s first SEC championship team and the Vols’ career leader in coaching wins.
Annacone was with the Vols from 1982-84 and was named an All-America all three years he played. The 1984 Rolex National Indoor singles champion and ITCA Player of the Year, left UT in 1984 and went on to have a successful professional career. After retiring from competition, he gained fame for his coaching ability as he tutored multiple Grand Slam winner Pete Sampras from 1995-2001.
Davis lettered from 1949-52 and was captain in 1951 when Tennessee captured its first SEC championship. In 1951, Davis won the SEC No. 1 singles title and teamed with John Cullum to win the SEC No. 1 doubles championship.
DePalmer Sr. commanded the Volunteers from 1981-94 and finished his 14-year reign with a record of 299-119. DePalmer Sr. was named SEC Coach of the Year twice and National Coach of the Year once. In 1990, he led the Vols to a 34-1 record with their only loss coming in the National Championship match. During his career at UT, DePalmer Sr., produced an NCAA singles champion, 21 All-America honors, 25 All-SEC honors and 20 Academic All-SEC honors.
Kohlberg spent two seasons as a Vol from 1978-79. The New York native was an All-America in 1979 after spending much of the season as the top-ranked singles player in the country. After his sophomore season, in which he defeated the eventual NCAA singles champion twice, Kohlberg turned pro.
Woodruff won UT’s only NCAA singles championship in 1993. During his two years as a Vol (1992-93), Woodruff was a two-time All-SEC selection, two-time All-America honoree and was the 1993 USTA Sportsmanship award winner. The Knoxville native left Tennessee after two seasons to pursue a professional career, during his career he won numerous tournaments and was ranked as high as ninth in the world. At the completion of his professional career he came back to UT and started coaching. He is currently the associate head coach of the men’s tennis team.