44 MSI Alumni That Continue to Impact the World of Tennis

by Louis Bolling

With a seventh U.S. Open title on the line at this year’s tournament (which starts today), Serena Jameka Williams can break Steffi Graf’s Grand Slam record of 186 consecutive weeks at #1 in the world rankings. Owning 22 of tennis’ most coveted prizes, “Meeka” can surpass Chris Evert for most U.S. Open singles titles won in the Open Era, inching closer to Australian Margaret Court’s all-time mark of 24 Grand Slam championships.

Williams, her sister, Venus, and several touring professional tennis players of color are standing on the shoulders of giants. Many of those giants call HBCUs and MSIs their home. In honor of their accomplishments, this week’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up features a list of some of those that have impacted and continue to impact the world of tennis.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. If you know of other MSI alum that deserve to be on this list, please feel free to respectfully mention them in the comments!

44 MSI Alum That Have, Continue to Impact the World of TennisPhoto1.jpg
Tuskegee University tennis was a force to reckon with.

1. Althea Gibson, Florida A&M University

2. Ann Koger, Morgan State University

3. Arthur Carrington, Hampton University

4. Benny Sims, Texas Southern University

5. Bessie Stockard, Tuskegee University

6. Beverly Coleman, Tennessee A&I University

7. Bonnie Logan, Morgan State University

8. Carl Benjamin, Central State College

9. Casaja Allen Qualls, Haskell Indian Junior College

10. Cleveland Abbott, Tuskegee Institute

11. Cliff Johnson, Prairie View A&M University

12. David Dinkins, Howard University

13. David Webster, Prairie View A&M University

14. Dawn Kelly Allen, Haskell Indian Junior College

15. Delise O’Meally, Morgan State University

44 MSI Alum That Have, Continue to Impact the World of TennisPhoto2.jpg
Howard University Women’s tennis in the 1930s.

16. Herman Neilsen, Hampton University

17. Holly Mullan Haskell Indian Junior College

18. Hubert A. Eaton, Sr. Johnson C. Smith University

19. R. Walter Johnson, Lincoln University (PA) and Meharry Medical College

20. Richard “Dick” Cohen, Xavier University of Louisiana

21. Robert M. Screen, Hampton University

22. Ernest McCampbell, Tuskegee University

23. Gerald Norman, Howard University

24. Harmon Fitch, Johnson Smith University

25. Harry Edmonds, Winston-Salem State University

26. Hazel Smith, Tuskegee Institute

27. Herbert J. Provost, Texas Southern University

28. Jimmie McDaniel, Xavier University of Louisiana

29. John Wilkerson, Texas Southern University

30. Johnny Sample, Maryland State College

44 MSI Alum That Have, Continue to Impact the World of TennisPhoto3.jpg
The Original “Williams Sisters”: Margaret and Matilda Roumania Peters of Tuskegee University were known as “Pete and Re-Pete”

31. Linwood Skinner, Winston-Salem State University

32. Lucy Diggs Slowe, Howard University

33. Luis Glass, Hampton University

34. Marcus Freeman, Prairie View A&M University and Texas A&M University

35. Margaret Peters, Tuskegee University

36. Matilda Roumania Peters, Tuskegee University

37. Nathaniel Jackson Tuskegee University

38. Nathaniel Vivians, Tuskegee Institute

39. Noah Allen, Haskell Indian Junior College

40. Rick Davis, Texas Southern University

41. Thomas Jefferson, Lincoln University (MO)

42.Wilbert “Billy” Davis, Tennessee A&I State College

43. William Earl “Bill“ Shelton, Saint Paul’s College

44. Yvonne Hoard, Lincoln University (MO)

44 MSI Alum That Have, Continue to Impact the World of TennisPhoto4.jpg
Bonnie Logan of Morgan State University

Quick Facts

  • The Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1912–50), is the oldest African American athletic conference in the United States, later became the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
  • The CIAA’s first championship winning tennis team was Howard University’s Men’s Tennis in 1923-24.
  • 2001-02 marked the first CIAA Women’s Tennis Championship with Fayetteville State University claiming victory.
  • Prairie View A&M Men’s Tennis claimed the first Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship in 1938.
  • Southern University claimed the SWAC’s first Women’s Championships in 1988.
  • In 1972 North Carolina Central won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference first Men’s championship; South Carolina State Women’s Tennis program did so in 1986.
  • The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is home to several MSIs. The winner of the NAIA’s first Men’s championship was Pepperdine in 1952; Grand Canyon (Ariz.) won the women’s title in 1982.

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