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Bill Jolly of Denmark, SC and Ben Varn of Inman, SC to be inducted to the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame

June 21, 2005 08:10 PM

COLUMBIA, SC, June 15, 2005 – The South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation (SCTPF) and the United States Tennis Association South Carolina (USTA SC) are proud to announce the 2005 Hall of Fame Inductees.  These amazing men join the 40 past inductees in the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame.

They will be honored at the SCTPF Hall of Fame Banquet at the Westin Resort on Hilton Head Island December 3, 2005.  Following their induction, a portrait will be hung in the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in Belton, South Carolina.

Bill Jolly of Denmark, SC began his tennis career early, learning to play at age 14 in Union, South Carolina.  Involved in SC tennis for 66 years as a player, coach and a volunteer, Jolly has left an extraordinary mark on tennis in South Carolina.  Presbyterian College boasts Jolly as a member of their 1947 State Championship Tennis team.  His career record includes 1275 tournament matches in singles and doubles winning 810.  Jolly has been victorious in 170 of 281 tournament finals in which he has participated.  Perhaps the most impressive is the fact that he won 32 consecutive State Championships including 36 total championships.  Jolly has been ranked #1 in SC twelve times.  In 1996 he was awarded Male Player of the Year from USTA South Carolina.

Off the court, Bill Jolly has been a member of the USTA SC’s Board of Directors as well as the SCTPF’s Board.  He has served on many committees both statewide and locally.  In 2003, Mr. Jolly received the first ever Adopt-a-Court grant given in South Carolina and was able to renovate public tennis courts in Denmark.  The courts were later named in honor of Mr. Bill Jolly and he received the USTA SC’s Community Service award that year.  Bill Jolly has touched the lives of so many tennis players in South Carolina.  He was nominated by a former student, Annie Bosler, who spoke of him, “Coach Jolly is instrumental in keeping the community interested in tennis…his heart is dedicated to the sport of tennis for life.”

Ben Varn of Inman, SC began his career as a successful junior player, winning many state championships and being awarded the prestigious Wilton McKinney Sportsmanship Trophy while playing for Charleston High School.  Varn played on The Citadel tennis team under Coach Don Bunch where he won the Southern Conference and State titles all four years, including being team captain his senior year.  Mr. Varn entered the United States Air Force in 1962; over 23 years he coached and played for the Air Force Team and one year hosted and organized the Inter-Service Tennis Championships, which included players for all the services from all over the world.  Holding national rankings in singles as high at 8th and in doubles as high as 5th, he won numerous SC and Southern titles during his years in the Air Force.

In 1974 Varn authored a tennis book titles Stairsteps to Successful Tennis.  The book has been used in many college Physical Education programs and is in the Air Force and Navy libraries.  Varn was The Citadel’s tennis Coach of the Year in 1976 with a record 18-7 season.  After joining the faculty at Wofford College in 1985, his coaching record was 135-98 moving the school from Division II to Division I in the Southern Conference.  At Wofford he was the all-time winningest tennis coach.

Varn has played on the South Carolina Senior Cup team every year since 1986 also serving as a member of the committee that organizes Senior Cup.   Additionally, Varn was President of the Charleston Lawn Tennis Association.  Paul Beazly nominated Varn and is quoted as saying “All of us who have had the privilege of playing with or against Ben…recognize him as a model of fierce competition yet exemplary sportsmanship.  Win or lose - a true sportsman and ambassador of the game.”

Establishing a South Carolina State Tennis Hall of Fame was the idea of Jim Russell, South Carolina Tennis Association President in 1983 & 1984.  Russell founded the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation, which was originally organized to support the Hall of Fame.  Today, the Patron’s foundation supports more than the Hall of Fame, offering grants to many tennis programs and activities throughout the state, plus three $1,500.00 college scholarships, which go to junior players from South Carolina.

The South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame was dedicated June 6, 1984, and is now considered one of the best such facilities in the country.

 

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