Kentucky to Enshrine Three into UK Tennis Hall of Fame
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky Robert Purnell Tennis Hall of Fame will be enshrining Scott Hulse, Steve Imhoff and Michael Hopkinson into its exclusive club as the Class of 2016, the program announced on Tuesday. The enshrinement ceremony will take place on July 31 prior to the singles final of the $100,000 Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in Lexington.
Hulse was a member of Dennis Emery’s 1989 recruiting class, which still to this day ranks as one of the best in program history. During his four years at Kentucky, the Wildcats went 76-40 and defeated the No. 8 team in the nation twice, the No. 12 ranked team, and the No. 22 ranked team in the country. His teams that he led went to three Sweet 16’s and one Elite Eight.
His career climaxed in 1992, his senior year in the Blue and White, when he led the Wildcats to a Southeastern Conference championship, doubled down by winning the SEC Tournament that year and advancing UK to the Elite Eight. He was seeded No. 5 at the NCAA Doubles Tournament, earning him All-America status. In addition, that year Hulse became just one of only 10 Wildcats (through 2016) to qualify for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in the same year. He finished top 35 in singles that season.
Hulse also earned Academic All-America status in 1992, and currently resides in Seattle, Wash., where he is the Senior Manager of Product Management for Amazon.com.
Teammate and co-captain Sonny Stunnett said of Hulse, “Scott was exactly what our program was about. He had a great work ethic and great character. Those two qualities coped with his talent enabled him to be an All-American and SEC Champion.”
“Scott was the heart and soul of our 1992 SEC Championship team,” former head coach Dennis Emery said. “He and David Culley were a devastating duo at the No. 3 and 4 spots in the lineup. They combined for an SEC record of 26-2 and Hulse went 13-1 in that stretch. We have never had a better person, leader and player than Scott.”
The second inductee of 2016 is 1994 graduate Michael Hopkinson. Hopkinson’s 1991 team finished 12th in the country, and he played the No 6 singles and No. 1 doubles position with Yancey for the 1992 SEC Championship team and finished No. 6 in the country.
In 1993, Hopkinson earned All-America status by virtue of being seeded No. 2 at the NCAA Tournament. Not only was he an All-American, but he was team captain in 1993 and 1994 and played the No. 1 and No. 2 singles slots for Emery, whilst also playing in the No. 1 doubles position.
In 1991 after his freshman season at UK, Hopkinson reached the finals of the US National Junior Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich. He remains the only Wildcat to reach the finals of the singles or doubles of that tournament.
“Michael is probably the best raw athlete we ever had at UK,” Emery said. “No one was quicker and no one could jump higher. The other thing that is certain is this – there has never been a more charismatic performer at Kentucky. He was Tom Jomby 20 years earlier. Hop was one of those guys coaches love to coach. He was a great athlete and a great person who came to work every day and improved dramatically each of his four years.”
Imhoff won Kentucky's first individual SEC Championship in 1970, when he won the doubles title at the No. 3 position for the Wildcats. He was the Wildcats' first four-year letterwinner since the 1950's when he lettered in 1967, 68, 68 and 70 for UK. In 1967, Imhoff led the team with 20 win in 1967 and after graduation, became a practicing attorney and 12-year member of the Jefferson Co. School Board.
"Steve did some unique things at UK and was a solid winner throughout his career," Emery said. "With the SEC going to a team rather than an individual format, he will always be one of the few players who won an SEC Championship."
The 2016 Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships run from July 25-31 at the Boone Tennis Center. Ticket information can be found at LexingtonChallenger.com.
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