UK Tennis Hall of Fame Announces 2014 Class

June 23, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame committee has announced its selections for enshrinement for the 2014 season. Billy Evans, Tom Jomby and Les Chapman have been elected into the prestigious group, and will be inducted into the UK Tennis Hall of Fame on July 27 at 1 p.m. ET in Lexington.

The first inductee is Billy Evans, who was one of the original two-sports standouts at the University of Kentucky in Wildcat history. Evans was one of the most highly-recruited players ever to commit to the Wildcats, where he played No. 1 singles for all three seasons that he played (1952, 54, 55).

Evans was even more successful as a basketball player for the Wildcats where he stayed and coached for Hall of Famer Adolph Rupp. He was the fourth-leading scorer for the undefeated (25-0) 1953-54 basketball team, only trailing Cliff Hagan, Frank Ramsey and Lou Tsiroupoulos. His 1954-44 team was ranked No. 2 in the country, while the 1953-54 team finished the season No. 1 overall in the country.

In 1956, Evans helped the United States to Olympic gold in Australia in the sport of basketball. Evans then went on to have a distinguished career as Senior Vice President of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Louisville, Ky. Evans played for legendary UK coach Dr. H. H. Downing.

Recent graduate Tom Jomby is the second inductee of the Class of 2014. Jomby was named an All-American in both his 2013 and 2014 season for singles, as well as accumulating the honor in 2013 for his doubles play with Kevin Lai. Jomby was a key part of UK’s 2012 Southeastern Conference Championship, 2011 Elite Eight appearance and its two SEC Tournament finals in 2011 and 2012. 

“In my 30 years at UK, Tom was one of the three best athletes I ever coached,” Former UK head coach and Hall of Fame Class of 2013 member Dennis Emery said. “During his freshman and sophomore seasons (2011-12), he was always winning the big match that would decide the overall match. He loved the big stage.”

Jomby’s 99 career wins in singles action placed him 15th all-time at Kentucky on the current wins list. Current UK head coach Cedric Kauffmann coached Jomby’s last two seasons, and felt he was a great leader. 

“Tom is just such a physical presence,” Kauffmann said. “He was not only a great leader but a vocal force on the courts. He was our MVP in every sense of the word. It was a real joy for me to see him develop as a player and a competitor.”

The final inductee of the Class of 2014 is Les Chapman. Chapman is unique to Kentucky on two fronts. First, Chapman is Kentucky’s first – and only – two-time SEC individual champion. Chapman won the SEC No. 3 doubles as a sophomore in 1970 with Steve Imhoff. He followed that up as a junior in 1971 by repeating with Randy Edmiston. With the SEC moving to a team format for the championships, it is a record that will stand for a long time at UK.

Recruited by coach Richard Vimont, Chapman is also unique in UK history as one of the first scholarship foreign athletes recruited to the school. 

The induction ceremony will be held on Sunday, July 27 prior to the singles finals for the Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships at approximately 1 p.m. ET. The ceremony will be held on Ryan Holder Center Court at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center in Lexington, Ky., on the campus of the University of Kentucky. The induction ceremony will be led by Vimont.