Dick Stockton is in his third season as the head coach of the Virginia men's tennis team. He has brought a lengthy and distinguished career in professional tennis with him to Virginia.
Stockton has compiled a 30-20 overall record at Virginia and has led the Cavaliers to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first two seasons at UVa. During the 1998-99 season, Brian Vahaly became the first Virginia player to earn All-America honors, a feat he duplicated last season.
"A lot of people in the tennis world were very surprised when they heard that I'd accepted a position as the UVa men's tennis coach," said Stockton. "But the people who know me best were not surprised; being a collegiate tennis coach is something that's been in the back of my mind for a long time."
Stockton attended Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where he received his B.A. in sociology in 1972. During his college tennis career, he garnered All-America honors four times and won the '72 NCAA Singles Championship. Clarence Mabry, the Trinity tennis coach, not only helped Stockton launch an auspicious career in professional tennis, but also inspired him to become a collegiate coach.
"Those were the four greatest years of my life, and I still
consider my coach at Trinity to be my coach today," said Stockton. "He had a tremendous impact on my life, and on the other guys on the team as well. When I left Trinity, I thought that one day I'd like to have an opportunity to impact young men the way my coach had impacted us."
After graduating from college, Stockton spent two decades playing professional tennis. He reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in '74, and reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in '76 and '77. Stockton played on the U.S. Davis Cup Team five times ('73, '75, '76, '77, '79), including the U.S. Davis Cup Championship Team in '79. He was the '77 U.S. Pro Indoor
Champion, and was a semifinalist in the '78 French Open.
Stockton enjoyed similar success in doubles. He was the U.S. Open Mixed Doubles Champion in '75, and the World Mixed Doubles Champion for three years running ('75, '76, '77). In '76, Stockton was the Wimbledon Mixed Doubles Runner-Up. He went on to win the French Open Mixed Doubles Championship in '84.
His dominating play in singles, doubles and mixed doubles earned him a ranking in the U.S. Top Ten six times. At the peak of his professional career, Stockton was ranked #8 in the world ('77). Over his career, Stockton has defeated many renowned players, including Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Guillermo Vilas, Vitas Gerulaitis and Arthur Ashe.
Stockton continued to earn many prestigious honors throughout the 1980s and 90s. He was ranked #1 in the world in the 35-and-over division in '86, and was ranked #4 in '87. Stockton is a three-time U.S. Open 35-and-Over Doubles Champion ('87, '89, '90). In September of 2000, he won his third U.S. Open 45-and-Over Doubles Championship. His first U.S. Open 45-and-Over title came in 1996, while he earned his second title in 1999. Stockton won the 1997 Wimbledon 45-and-Over Doubles Championship, and also
captured the 1997 World Doubles Championship.
Besides winning international championships, Stockton has kept his hands full with fund raising and marketing for charity events. For the past 11 years, he has organized an annual professional charity tennis event that has netted over $900,000 for various children's charities. Stockton also spent a year as the Arthritis Foundation National Spokesperson.
Over the last decade, Stockton has taught private lessons to adults and children. He has worked with kids in the junior program at the T Bar M Racquet Club in Dallas, Texas. Several of his students have gone on to play collegiate tennis, some on full scholarship.
This past October, Stockton was inducted into the Trinity University Athletic Hall of Fame. In honor of both his international success and his local contributions to tennis, the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame inducted Stockton in 1996. He was also inducted into the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 1990.
When Stockton heard that UVa was looking for a new tennis coach, he began talking to his family and friends about the possibility of applying for the position.
"I'd never heard of UVa as a tennis power-when you talk about collegiate tennis powers, UVa doesn't come to mind. But I did know about the University's reputation as one of the most outstanding academic institutions in our country,"
Stockton said."I talked with a lot of people who knew about UVa," he continued."The response was one of a great deal of excitement that I would even be interested in coaching here."
Stockton moved his family from Dallas to Charlottesville in the fall of 1998. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have four children, Sarah (23), Cole (18), J.R. Edwards (8), and Spencer (4).