Former tennis coach Emery to be inducted into Hall of Fame

Former UK tennis coach Dennis Emery will be inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of UK Athletics.

Staff report | @KYKernelSports

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Following a 35-year career in coaching, including 30 years at UK, men’s tennis coach Dennis Emery is achieving one of his lifelong goals of being inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame.

“When I started coaching in 1977, I had several goals,” Emery told UK Athletics. “One of those was to be in the Hall of Fame, and it really means a lot to me.”

Emery led UK to their biggest successes in men’s tennis history. He led the Cats to the NCAA Tournament in 23 of the last 25 years he was head coach, including 11 Sweet Sixteens and four Elite Eights.

Emery is one of only five UK coaches to be named to the Hall of Fame for his respective sport (Adolph Rupp, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Joe B. Hall and Jerry Claiborne).

“It is really special to be named in my first year of eligibility,” Emery said. “I know how rare of an occasion that is, so for it to happen to me means a lot.”

Emery was awarded SEC Coach of the Year for the third time in his career in 2012, one of only eight SEC coaches to receive the title three times. Emery retired as one of the premier coaches in the sport with 655 career wins, also going undefeated against in-state opponents in his 30-year career at UK.

In his last four years at UK, Emery led the Cats to their most successful four-year stretch in program history, winning 100 matches and finishing in the top-15 of the final ITA rankings each season.

The team also won an SEC Championship (2012) and advanced to three Sweet Sixteens and an Elite Eight.

Included in the class of 2013 with Emery are two other NCAA coaches, three players and a contributor.

The group of seven will be inducted on May 22, 2013 in Champaign, Ill., at the 2013 NCAA National Championships, hosted by the University of Illinois.

Current UK head tennis coach Cedric Kauffmann, and Emery’s son Matt, now the assistant coach at UK, will introduce him.