December 11, 1918-May 23, 2010
November 22, 2013 By Billy E. Crawford
Randy Gregson was inducted into the following Tennis Halls of Fame:
Louisiana Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987
Arkansas Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981
USTA Southern Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987
The following article is from the USTA Southern Tennis website, May 2010.
Randy learned tennis by playing junior tennis while growing up in Arkansas. Later he was a member of the tennis team at Arkansas State in the northeastern part of the state.
He then enlisted in the United States Navy, where he continued to play and won several military titles. His game moved to a higher level when he moved to New Orleans in 1948 and began playing at the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club, where he was a member for more than 50 years.
Gregson’s “real” tennis career came as a doubles player. With Frank Thompson, he won the Southern Senior Doubles and the National Clay Court Doubles in 1964. He and Thompson defeated five-time national champs Bitsy Grant and Larry Shippey in the finals. After winning the National 45 Doubles in 1965, Gregson and Thompson were invited to Wimbledon, where they reached the semi-finals. He also won two Southern Father-Son Doubles Tournaments with Randy Gregson II.
Gregson claimed 25 various Southern Championships in singles and doubles. He received the inaugural Dixon Award from the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. After Hurricane Katrina, the former member of the City Park Board worked to get a USTA grant to improve the City Park tennis courts. He also helped get a grant to repair New Orleans’ Stern Tennis Center.
Playing in national tournaments sparked Gregson’s interest in the USTA and the Southern Section. “The first Southern annual meeting I attended could have been held in a telephone booth, “ said Gregson. “Two of us were nominated for the office of Vice-President, explained Gregson. I voted for the other fellow, but he voted for me and was elected by a vote of two to one.”
“This ‘ground swell’ carried over to becoming Southern President, a regional Vice President of the USTA, and eventually USTA President. As President, I was proud of getting the Association into a more business-like mode with a board of directors that was given far-reaching powers.”
Gregson’s love of his state was evident for years at the annual USTA Southern annual meeting. The Louisianan continued the state’s tradition of heading up a parade with an umbrella when he would lead the section’s annual award winners into the presentation luncheon each year.
Randy was NOLTC Club Champion one year, beating two-time intercollegiate Champion Ernie Sutter in the quarterfinals. Randy relinquished his championship the next year to Ham Richardson.
He played a part in changing the face of tennis in America by introducing Dave Dixon to some top players when Dixon and Lamar Hunt were putting together a group of eight professional players marking the beginning of Open Tennis in the United States. In 2001 Randy was honored with a star in the Walk of Fame at the New Orleans Hilton for his contribution to sports in the New Orleans area, including his activities as a member of the Directors of the New Orleans Sports Foundation.
Source: The New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club by Gasper J. “Buddy” Stall.
1987 Samuel Hardy Award
In 1987 Gregson received the Samuel Hardy award. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum annually presents the Samuel Hardy to a USTA Volunteer in recognition of long and outstanding service at the international level to the sport of tennis. The recipients must exemplify those qualities of personal unselfishness and devotion to the game that have been an inspiration to others.
Mr. Gregson was a graduate of the University of Texas and a post- graduate of Cal Tech. He was a financial advisor.
Relatives and friends were invited to attend the Memorial Service in the Chapel of Trinity Episcopal Church on May 26, 2010, followed by a reception at the NOLTC.