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Al Fullerton, Seminal Figure in SC Tennis, Passes

September 14, 2007 02:43 PM

On September 8, 2007 South Carolina Tennis lost a good friend, a mentor and a wonderful advocate when Albert J. (Al) Fullerton Sr. passed away. Al Fullerton was a long time Columbia resident who graduated from the University of South Carolina. Mr. Fullerton was selected to the board of the South Carolina Tennis Association (which became USTA South Carolina) in the 1960’s.
Al FullertonIn 1976 Mr. Fullerton became President of the South Carolina Tennis Association (SCTA) where he oversaw many changes. Events during his two year tenure included the creation of the SCTA constitution and by-laws, SCTA’s incorporation by the State of South Carolina, and the granting of tax exempt status by the IRS so that the SCTA could receive funds from the Southern Tennis Association. Mr. Fullerton’s tenure also saw the SCTA hiring its first paid employee.
In addition to his presidential duties, Mr. Fullerton organized the SCTA’s first Tournament Director’s Workshop in 1978. He also led a Columbia group in their bid for the Boy’s and Girl’s 12-and-under Southern Closed Championships, which have been held at the Parklane Tennis Center ever since.
After serving as SCTA’s President, Mr. Fullerton took a seat on the Southern Tennis Association’s (STA) board of directors where he chaired the STA Adult Tennis Council. Mr. Fullerton’s time on the STA saw the creation of the pilot Adult Leagues, which have grown into the massive USTA League program we know today. Shortly after his time as SCTA President, Mr. Fullerton took the position of Executive Director of the SCTA, where he served for over a decade until the early 1990's overseeing a critcal period of growth.
Mr. Fullerton was also actively involved in local tennis as a certified official, including acting as a line umpire for the Family Circle Cup for 15 consecutive years.
When the SC Tennis Patrons Foundation was formed, Mr. Fullerton was selected to serve on the first board. He remained active with the Foundation until his passing.
The loss of Al Fullerton is a sad moment for tennis, not just in South Carolina, but across the USTA Southern Section. When you play tennis in USTA Leagues, visit the SC Tennis Patrons Hall of Fame, or play in a USTA sanctioned tournament, you are doing so, in part, through the tireless efforts of Al Fullerton, and for that we are grateful to have had such a wonderful individual to help tennis blossom in our state. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Heart Association, P.O. Box 6604 Columbia SC 29260 or to First Baptist Church, 1306 Hampton St. Columbia SC 29201.