The stars of the Delaware tennis scene came out on Friday night October 14 to celebrate the 2011 Delaware Tennis Hall of Fame inductees: former state champion and UD team captain and MVP Chuck Herak; past president of both the Delaware Tennis Foundation and Delaware USTA District, Dan Kegelman; and Araceli Sebastian-Popen, President of the Kent County Tennis Association and long-time Delaware District board member.
The trio were recognized for their extraordinary accomplishments and contributions both on and off the courts. Herak played first singles and doubles under legendary UD coach Roy “Doc” Rylander (HoF ’06) and went on to win 40 USTA men’s events. Kegelman, himself a five-time number one ranked junior, began teaching the game at 15, served as general manager of the Delaware Smash and has won numerous USTA awards for his service to the sport. The eldest of nine children, Araceli has carried on her late father Oscar Sebastian’s legacy in promoting tennis in Kent and Sussex counties, including organizing many tournaments and community programs to bring the sport to many who might otherwise not have an opportunity to play the game.
In addition to the tennis accolades, one attendee remarked on the impressive intellectual firepower of the inductees, noting the event might have doubled as a MENSA meeting. Indeed, Herak studied engineering at UD and went on to receive a Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kegelman hails from one of Wilmington’s brainiest families, is also a UD-trained engineer and is Chairman of the Mathematics Department at Salesianum School, and Sebastian-Popen has the special kind of genius and diplomatic tact required to manage infinitely complex tournament draws while keeping anxious parents safely at bay. Bravo!
Past Hall of Fame inductees including Greg Barkley, Larry Hampton, Nancy Keiper, Ed McQuillin and Jeff Harrison were in attendance to pay tribute to Chuck, Dan and Araceli, along with Delaware Tennis Foundation(DTF) president and award presenter Mark Manning and many proud family members and friends. Event proceeds benefitted the DTF, which supports community tennis programs throughout the First State.