I am so excited to announce my guest this weekend is an individual I consider to have one of the greatest tennis minds and to be one of the best people to have ever coached the game. Paul Scarpa is the winningest NCAA Division I tennis coach in America. Tune in Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. to hear one of the greatest.
Scarpa took over Furman’s tennis program in 1967 and directed it to 853 victories and 17 Southern Conference championships, and has been enshrined into four halls of fame. On March 6, 2009, Scarpa etched his name in the record book when he became the sport’s winningest coach in NCAA Division I history, earning his 820th victory in Furman’s 6-1 win against Yale. He was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010 after being enshrined into the USTA Southern Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006. Scarpa was inducted into the Furman Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994, the only active coach to be accorded the honor. And this past year Scarpa was inducted into the ITA Collegiate Hall Of Fame.
In 1993, the NCAA began utilizing a new dual match scoring system — developed by Scarpa — in all men’s and women’s dual match and championship play. Known as the Scarpa System, the “3-6” format specifies that all matches begin with doubles play featuring eight-game pro sets and that all three doubles teams play for one team doubles point. The system proved to bring more of a team aspect to what was once an individual sport. It also shortened the time frame of a typical dual match, thus increasing overall intensity and fan interest — two elements that were hallmarks of Scarpa’s Furman program. Scarpa has also enjoyed the role of inventor, patenting the tape (Tenex) used to mark clay courts throughout the world.
Scarpa had a habit of taking good tennis players and making them great. Most recently, Any Juc (‘09) was ranked as high as No. 45 in the country among singles players. Ben Pauluhn (‘06) who wasn’t even in the lineup as a freshman, advanced to the top spot in the lineup. Jeff Maddox (‘76) rose from a No. 6 singles player to the conference champion at No. 1. Langdon Brockinton (‘80), never lost a singles or doubles match in four years of action in the Southern Conference Tournament. Don Barton (‘82) went from No. 7 singles as a freshman to an All-American as a junior, advancing to the round of 16 in the NCAA Championships. And, the most heralded player in Furman tennis history, Ned Caswell (‘87), a former member of the United States Junior Davis Cup Team and touring professional, advanced from the bottom of Furman’s singles lineup to the forefront of collegiate tennis. Caswell, a two-time All-American, has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the world in the over-35 singles and doubles divisions and is a top 150 ATP Tour player.
In addition, two of Scarpa’s student-athletes — Steve Price (‘86) and Troy Goers (‘87) — garnered Academic All-America honors following successful careers. Three other players — Pauluhn, Sam Schroelucke and Bo Ladyman — have earned the Southern Conference Sportsmanship Award.
A native of Charleston, S.C., and 1962 graduate of Florida State, Scarpa was a former top singles and doubles player for the Seminoles, winning the NCAA Eastern Intercollegiates. He reached the singles quarterfinals of the National 35s Clay Court Championships in 1975, and also made the doubles finals of the National Teaching Professional Championships that same year, an achievement that helped him garner South Carolina Professional-of-the-Year accolades. Scarpa also holds the distinction of being the first player to win the men’s state championship as both an amateur and later as a professional when it was opened to pros for the first time.0
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