I would like to offer a significantly different perspective from the recent Firing Lines by Bobby French and John Stephen Taylor, neither of whom I know.
My mother introduced me to tennis at Eastwoods Park just north of UT in 1945, when I was 9 years old. After 2 weeks she turned me over to Daniel Penick, the longtime UT tennis coach (over 50 years) on Saturday mornings. When Caswell Tennis Center opened a short time later, I spent my youth through my years at Austin High there almost every day. Then, in 1954, when I enrolled in Plan II at UT, I was on the freshman team. My senior year, 1958, I was captain. I got to play under Penick and my junior and senior years under Coach Wilmer Allison (only the second tennis coach in the school’s history). My junior year I got to play with Dave Snyder (a senior), who became the third coach for the next 29 years. The original courts where I played were on the north end of Memorial Stadium and were clay.
The tennis alumni had a meeting in October to discuss the situation with athletic director Steve Patterson. We were told that we, the alumni, needed to raise $15,000,000 before construction could begin. Meanwhile one of the best collegiate teams in the country must work out at the Intramural Fields, where there are no stands, no dressing rooms and no scoreboards. Contrary to the information given by Taylor, the new facility will not be built at the Intramural Fields, from what I have been told. One other point that needs to be addressed: Taylor asks, “Where has Coach [Michael] Center been?” I must point out that Center is not in a position to make a decision. He has more than enough to do to coach some of the finest young men that have ever represented the University of Texas tennis team.
They are students, gentlemen on the court and winners. I, and the alums, could not be prouder of the team and the coaches. Now I hope the University officials who have the power and the money to make the decisions will act with due speed to bring about a solution to this unjust and inexcusable situation.
— Laurence A. Becker, Ph.D., captain of the UT Tennis Team (1958), assistant coach (1962-1964), in response to Bobby French’s Tuesday Firing Line titled “Texas Tennis deserves proper home” and John Stephen Taylor’s Wednesday Firing Line titled “Texas Tennis fan got it right.”