Bill Lenoir: Tennis legend coached Wildcats, Sun Devils

2011-06-30T00:03:00Z 2011-06-30T13:42:55Z Bill Lenoir: Tennis legend coached Wildcats, Sun Devils Arizona Daily Star
June 30, 2011 12:03 am

In celebration of Arizona's centennial, the Star will feature our picks for the 100 best athletes, moments and teams.

Throughout the summer, we will showcase our list - with the first 90 in no particular order. In August, columnist Greg Hansen will choose his top 10, with a column on each.

Bill Lenoir

Achievement

In the span of a decade, Bill Lenoir lived a lifetime's worth of tennis, becoming probably the best men's tennis player in the history of both Tucson and the Arizona Wildcats.

At Tucson High School, he won the 1959 and 1960 state singles championships and was named the USTA's top-ranked 18-year-old junior.

He enrolled at the UA, reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA championships in 1961 and 1963, and the semifinals in 1962.

His UA teams finished third and fourth nationally in his last two years, the best rankings in school history.

Lenoir played at Wimbledon twice and by 1965 was the United States' No. 13-ranked tennis player.

Despite all his success, the clay-court specialist returned to his home state to pursue graduate degrees at both the UA and Arizona State.

He coached the tennis teams at both schools.

Lenoir told the Star in 1995 that he regretted not playing in "five or six French Opens," because "I could have reached the semifinals there."

After leaving ASU in 1972, Lenoir became the teaching pro at Scottsdale Chaparral Racquet Club, and then at the Tampa, Fla., Yacht and Country Club.

He remained there for 21 years until retiring in 2005.

Lenoir passed away in 2007 after fighting thyroid cancer.

Hometown; age

Athens, Ga.; died in 2007 at 64

By the numbers

3.75

Lenoir's GPA at the UA

Patrick Finley

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