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Saint Mary's School Launches Athletics Hall Of Fame April 7
Mary Lou Jones
Mary Lou Jones of Sanford, N.C., a North Carolina Tennis Hall of Famer, recorded 330 wins against just 95 losses as head coach of Saint Mary's college and high school tennis teams from the 1960s into the 1990s, including 12 undefeated seasons, the 1980 North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) high school state championship, six consecutive North Carolina Women's Colleges State Tournament championships (1984-1989), and NCISAA high school conference and North Carolina Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NCAIAW) collegiate district championships. She held her legendary summer tennis camps at Saint Mary's from 1974-1998. A countless number of her players went on to play collegiate tennis at the top colleges and universities in the state and nation. She built the modern-day athletics program at Saint Mary's, moving the school from an intramural athletic program to intercollegiate and interscholastic competition at the highest levels.
As a player, Jones was the winner of more than 200 tournament championships since 1948 in singles and doubles throughout North Carolina and the South, including North Carolina Tennis Association (NCTA) state championships and number one state rankings in singles and doubles. She was highly ranked in the Southern Tennis Association in singles and doubles, including number one in the South in women's doubles. She was a five-time Eastern Carolina Tennis Association singles champion and won numerous Raleigh city championships.
Jones was inducted into the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1979, was named NCTA Pro of the Year by the North Carolina Association of Tennis Professionals in 1989, was the Piedmont Athletic Conference of Independent Schools (PACIS) Coach of the Year in 1987, was named to Who's Who in American Tennis in 1984, and received the National High School Coaching Award in 1987. Jones served as coach of the Junior Wightman Cup Team for North Carolina in 1958. Off the tennis court, she served as Raleigh's community ambassador to Israel in 1963, was inducted into the Wake County YWCA Academy of Women in 1990, was recipient of a Distinguished Women of North Carolina Award from the N.C. Council of Women in 1999, and received the prestigious Friend of Agriculture Award from the Lee County N.C. Cooperative Extension Center in 2016, among other honors.
She earned her bachelor's degree in physical education and master's degree in education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was honored in 1988 by the UNC Physical Education Department as an outstanding alumna.
1975-1976 Undefeated Saint Mary's College Tennis Team*
In his Net Notes column in the News & Observer, May 30, 1976, sportswriter Grady Elmore called the 1975-1976 Saint Mary's College tennis team "the best tennis team in North Carolina – at least the most successful from the won-lost standpoint."
The 1975-1976 team recorded decisive wins over varsity teams from North Carolina State University, Wake Forest University, East Carolina University, UNC-Greensboro, Peace College, Meredith College, Salem College, Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College), Guilford College, Furman University, and the junior varsity teams from UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. In the undefeated run, Saint Mary's dominated opponents, winning 12 matches by a score of 9-0, four matches 8-1, and two matches by a 6-3 margin.
2017 Saint Mary's Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees:
The following 1975-1976 Saint Mary's College team members are being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017: Emily Bass Baumgartner of Frisco, Colo.; Anna Neal Blanchard of Raleigh; Marty Marshall DeVine of Alexandria, Va.; Hunter Dortch (honored posthumously);
1976-1977 Undefeated Saint Mary's College Tennis Team*
The headline of an April 28, 1977, article by Joel Chaney in The Raleigh Times read: "Little St. Mary's Plays Big Tennis Game." The article went on to report, "The tennis girls from St. Mary's College have done it again. A doughnut in the loss column. Another perfect season. 16-0. This comes on the heels of last year's 18-0 mark. The school is beating them all."
The 1976-1977 team, once again uniquely composed of college and high school students, recorded decisive wins over varsity teams from North Carolina State University, East Carolina University, Meredith College, Campbell University, UNC-Wilmington, Salem College, Catawba College, High Point University, and the junior varsity teams from UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University.
The Raleigh Times reported a singles lineup of Margaret Scott from Wilmington at number one, Allison Hines of Raleigh at number two, Mary Fondren of Roanoke Rapids at number three, Mary Virginia Swain of Wilmington at number four, Emily Bass of Sanford at number five, and Prince Dixon of Raleigh at number six. Rounding out the lineup were: Rowdy Fanjoy of Statesville, N.C.; Lanier Brown of Greensboro; Martha Boisseau of Petersburg, Va., Amy Lipsitz of Ahoskie, N.C.; Marty Marshall of Raleigh; Meredith Reid of Charlotte; Kathy Sawyer of Ahoskie, N.C.; and Terry Kirk of Raleigh; team managers, Tori Bradsher of Roxboro, N.C., and Mary Foy Ragsdale of Smithfield, N.C.; and head coach Mary Lou Jones of Sanford, N.C.
2017 Saint Mary's Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees:
Members of the 1976-1977 Saint Mary's College tennis team being inducted into the Hall of Fame for 2017 are: Mary Fanjoy Armistead of Statesville, N.C.; Emily Bass Baumgartner of Frisco, Colo.; Marty Marshall DeVine of Alexandria, Va.; Allison Hines Ficken; Mary Fondren of Palm Beach, Fla.; Margaret Scott Freeman of Wilmington, N.C.; Meredith Reid Graves of Charlotte; Amy Lipsitz of Emerald Isle, N.C.; Kathy Sawyer Mann of Wilmington, N.C.; Martha Boisseau Mattheisen of White Stone, Va.; Lanier Brown May of Chapel Hill; Mary Virginia Swain of Raleigh and Wilmington, N.C.; Terri Kirk Wesel of Myrtle Beach; Prince Dixon Witt of Charlotte, N.C.; Tori Bradsher of Roxboro, N.C.; Mary Foy Ragsdale of Smithfield, N.C.; and Head Coach Mary Lou Jones of Sanford, N.C.
About Saint Mary's School
Saint Mary's School in Raleigh, N.C., is an independent, Episcopal, college-preparatory, boarding and day school dedicated to academic excellence and personal achievement for girls in grades 9-12. Founded May 12, 1842, Saint Mary's is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year. Saint Mary's currently competes as a member of the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) and the Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference (TISAC). http://www.sms.edu
*Saint Mary's had a junior college department from 1927-1998, along with a high school program. From the 1960s until 1998, Saint Mary's College athletic teams competed on the intercollegiate level, with teams often comprised of college and high school students, until 1978, when the teams were divided into high school and college teams.
Mary Virginia Swain