March 8, 2010
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina head men’s tennis coach Kent DeMars will be among the 10 inductees to the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame on May 26, 2010. Having already announced his retirement at the end of this, his 37th season as a college head coach, DeMars will cap a distinguished career with his profession’s highest honor.
“It’s the highlight of a career when your peers select you for this kind of honor,” DeMars said. “I’m humbled by the selection. It’s a terrific group of people that I’m going in with, and I’m ecstatic to join those that have been inducted before me as well.”
Entering his final season, DeMars had amassed a 595-349 record that included seven NCAA Division II National Championships at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and 18 NCAA Tournament appearances and six conference championships with South Carolina. He is South Carolina’s winningest men’s tennis head coach with 387 victories in his 26th season at the helm. DeMars was named NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year in 1989 and was a seven-time NCAA Region II Coach of the Year selection while with the Gamecocks. He has guided seven Gamecocks to a total of nine All-America selections
“Coach DeMars is so deserving of this honor,” senior associate athletic director Val Sheley said. “He has spent his life working with student-athletes and promoting the sport in a very positive way. He is known and respected nationally, so this honor is really no surprise and is a fitting end to his collegiate coaching career.”
At SIU-E, DeMars helped his players to eight NCAA Division II Singles Championships and four Doubles Championships, including the noted American duo of Ken Flach and Robert Seguso who went on to win doubles titles at the 1985 U.S. Open, the 1987 and 1988 Championships at Wimbledon and the 1988 Olympics.
The May 26 induction ceremony in Athens, Ga., will honor a total of 10 new hall of fame members – Players Mahesh Bhupathi (Ole Miss), Daniel Courcol (Mississippi State), Zan Guerry (Rice), Rodney Harmon (Tennessee and SMU) and Leif Shiras (Princeton); Player/Coach Jay Lapidus (Princeton/Duke); Coaches Kent DeMars (South Carolina), Craig Tilley (Illinois) and Steve Wilkinson (Gustavus Adolphus College); and Contributor Gordon Smith (Georgia).