GREENSBORO, NC (Sept. 9, 2013) – The North Carolina Tennis Foundation is proud to announce the induction of Lawson Duncan and Lindsey Linker into the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame. The 2014 class will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame during Tennis Weekend in January of 2014.
Together the duo has accounted for more than 30 Coach of the Year accolades, 15 High School State Championships, and the NCAA record for singles wins in one season.
Lawson Duncan, an Asheville native, is no stranger to the spotlight. After graduating from Asheville High School in 1982 as a standout tennis player, Duncan attended Clemson university where he was crowned NCAA Rookie of the Year and an All-American during his freshman campaign in 1984. During that incredible season, he set the record for most singles wins in a season with 70 victories — a record that still stands today. He finished second in the country that season after falling to Mikael Pernfors in the NCAA single finals.
“My Experience at Clemson showed me that I was good enough to compete at a high level for an extended time,” said Duncan. “Although, losing in the NCAA singles final was a huge disappointment.”
After one year in college, Duncan quickly turned pro and joined the ATP tour where he climbed to as high as 47 in the world rankings. Injuries, however, forced him to retire from the tour early in 1988 with a world ranking of 59.
His many accolades include captaining the United States Tennis Association Junior Davis Cup in 1983, as well as playing for the 1985 U.S. Davis Cup team vs West Germany. During his first year on tour he also reached three European Clay Court tournament finals. In 1987, he won the Agadir, Casablanca Challenger. Two years later he reached the fourth round of the 1989 French Open.
“There have been a lot of great players, organizers, and promoters of NC tennis and to be recognized with them is a great honor,” said Duncan. “My father, hands down, had the biggest impact on my career. He supported me through thick and thin.”
Today Duncan resides in his hometown in Asheville with his wife Kathy and 7-year-old twin sons, Logan and Kolby. He is currently a club professional at the Asheville Racquet Club Downtown.
Charlotte’s Lindsey Linker has been a staple in North Carolina high school tennis for more than 30 years. While at Myers Park High School, Linker was named All-Conference three times and became a captain her senior year. Her success as a junior propelled her to UNC-Chapel Hill where she became a four-year letter winner for the Tar Heels. In 1977, she helped guide her team to an Atlantic Coast Conference championship.
After graduating with a Masters of Arts in Teaching from UNC, she began coaching the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Chapel Hill High School where she also taught Physical Education classes. During her 10-year tenure with CHHS, she led her teams to a 294-39 record, including two Dual Team State 4A Championships. She also molded three individual state 4A champions and was named PAC 6 Coach of the year 13 times. Despite Linker’s many accolades acquired from success on the court, it’s the accomplishments off the court that she credits as her greatest achievements.
“Being able to instill the concept of ‘team’ in a sport that is traditionally individual is something I’ve also been proud of,” said Linker. “Seeing young people experience that feeling of being a part of a team, and all the life skills that come along with that: displaying class while winning humbly or losing graciously, putting the team before yourself, the rewards of hard work and self-discipline, etc. That, and maintaining close contact with former players who have gone on to do great things in college tennis and life.”
In 1993, Lindsey took a position at Culbreth Middle School as a Physical Education teacher and tennis coach. She became the coach at East Chapel Hill High School in 1998, and finally moved there to teach, as well, in 2001. Her record to date includes a remarkable 587-62 mark that features 14 Dual Team 3A/4A State Championships. She has also coached 10 Individual State 3A/4A Champions, including the 2008 NCAA DIII National Player of the Year in Mike Greenberg. Nineteen times she has been named the Triad/PAC 6 Coach of the Year. In 2003, she was named the North Carolina Tennis Association’s High School Coach of the Year and in 2007 was crowned the NCAAHPERD High School Coach of the Year.
Linker credits her passion for the game and ability to shape young lives as one of the best parts about being a high school coach.
“My favorite part about coaching at this level is to watch my players at this age as they grow, mature and develop not only as players, but as people: becoming more aware of and sensitive to others; becoming leaders rather than followers; learning time management and prioritizing in their lives; and taking pride in what hard work can accomplish.”
The success Linker’s teams have experienced at every level assigned to them also paved the way for her induction into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. She will be officially inducted in April 2014.
Linker’s success on the courts extended well beyond her coaching career, however, as she has accumulated many impressive feats over the years. She climbed to as high as No. 5 in the USTA National 30 & Under rankings, as well as achieving No. 1 rankings in the South for the 25 & Under and 30 & Under divisions. In 1988, she was the National 30 & Under Doubles runner-up.
A lifetime resident of North Carolina, Linker teaches tennis clinics at Westglow Spa in Blowing Rock, NC in the summers. She currently resides in Chapel Hill where she continues to coach the East Chapel Hill High School team.
Matt Gottfried, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
NCTF Inducts Duncan, Linker Into Hall Of Fame