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Pucci put Hogs on the map

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Pucci put Hogs on the map

This is the latest in a series of features on the 2009 University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor inductees.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Former University of Arkansas men’s tennis coach Tom Pucci left his mark on Razorback tennis during his tenure from 1976-84, compiling an overall record of 218-60, the second most wins by any Razorback coach in school history and recording the school’s only 30-win season.During his career at Arkansas, Pucci led the Hogs to three appearances each in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight from 1979-84, each of those teams finishing their seasons ranked in the top 10 in the country. Pucci also led Arkansas to Southwest Conference Championships in 1980 and 1981.

In his winningest season as Razorbacks coach, 1980, Pucci’s Hogs went 31-4, advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight and finished the season ranked seventh in the nation. The following season, the Razorbacks finished the season ranked sixth, the highest ever end-of-season ranking in program history.

Under his tutelage, five Razorbacks garnered 12 All-America honors. In 1980, Razorbacks Ron Hightower, Chip Hooper and Peter Doohan became Arkansas’ first All-Americans.

Hooper, who spent two seasons with the Razorbacks, earned the first No. 1 singles ranking in Arkansas history in 1980 and repeated as an All-American in 1981.

Doohan also repeated as an All-American, adding three more honors from 1981-83. Also playing for Pucci, Pat Serret was the only other Razorback in Arkansas history to garner All-America recognition in four straight seasons, from 1981-84.

Kelly Evernden also earned an All-America nod under Pucci in 1984.

Pucci bred champions in the early 1980s as Hooper earned Arkansas’ first ITA National Indoor singles title in 1981. Doohan and Serret were NCAA Doubles Champions in 1982 and finished the season ranked No. 1 in the country. Doohan also won the ITA All-American singles title in 1982.

Following his coaching career at Arkansas, Pucci entered athletic administration. He is currently the Athletic Director at California University of Pennsylvania.

UA Sports Hall of Honor members are selected by a vote of former letterwinners in conjunction with the “A” Club. The official induction is Friday, Sept. 18, at the Holiday Inn in Springdale. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased from the Razorback Foundation. For more information, call the Razorback Foundation at 479-443-9000.



Sports Category : Tennis (M)