The Delaware Tennis Foundation inducted four lifetime tennis players and coaches into the Delaware Tennis Hall of Fame earlier this month at the Wilmington Country Club. With some 200 friends, family and supporters on hand for the occasion, 2013 inductees Gaby Brengle, Mark Manning, Pete Rigby and Gene Thompson each reminisced about their early days as tennis players and how much they have enjoyed giving back as coaches, mentors and volunteers.
Gaby Brengle, a tournament player herself, has coached at Dover Indoor Tennis for some 20 years. This fall she will take her fourth straight Junior Team Tennis squad to the National Championships. In 2003 Mark Manning helped found the Delaware Junior Team Tennis league, a tennis program which is still active today. He has also served as treasurer and president of the Delaware Tennis Hall of Fame and lead organizer of the Delaware Junior Tennithon, which brings large numbers of kids out for an all-night of tennis and fun in support of area tennis programs.
Gene Thompson coached his first varsity tennis team at Wilmington High School in 1974, while also serving as head coach of basketball and track and field. He raised funds to help start the Wilmington Tennis Foundation with a goal of raising the level of minority participants in the game of tennis. Pete Rigby, a 30-year veteran of USTA district, sectional and national teams, manages a Club Tennis Program for students at selected Delaware high schools and middle schools. Nearly 80 students from six public schools are participating in this year’s program, which is taught by certified professionals, recreational coaches and trained volunteers.