National tennis champion, coach of the year, tireless volunteer and Delaware Hall of Famer Bob Bratcher passed away on August 5. Bratcher was a pillar of the local and national tennis scene for more than 60 years, serving in every capacity imaginable from teacher to mentor to elite player.
An article about Bratcher’s contributions on the USTA website said: “Everyone knew him for his gentle soul, quiet demeanor, and huge smile.”
Bratcher’s awards and recognitions include being named Delaware Tennis Foundation Hall of Fame Inductee, USTA Delaware District Community Tennis Coach of the Year, and USTA National Eve Kraft Award recipient.
The tennis icon was passionate about sharing his love for the sport with every community. This took him all over Delaware including, the Rodney Street Courts, Ferris School, Christiana High School, and Haynes Park.
A particular focus was introducing tennis to children in the city of Wilmington.
Bratcher was also an accomplished competitor on the courts himself, scoring major wins in seniors competitions in recent years. In 2008, he won the 75 Men’s Singles event at the American Tennis Association National Tennis Tournament held in Key Biscayne, Florida. He also came in as runner-up in the 75 Men’s Doubles event.
The family has authorized donations in his memory to the Robert Bratcher Scholarship Fund, c/o Tennis Rocks Tutoring & Music Foundation, 203 W. 23rd Street, Wilmington, DE 19802.