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South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame Welcomes Two 2021 Inductees

The South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation and USTA South Carolina are proud to announce that Bobby Austell of Greenville and Chuck Hodgin of Sumter who now lives in Birmingham, Alabama, will be the 2021 inductees into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame.  They will become the 72nd and 73rd Hall of Fame inductees.

Austell is a former junior and college player who has dedicated years of service to tennis as a player, volunteer, high school coach, fundraiser and benefactor.  Hodgin, who grew up in Sumter in the 1960s and 1970s, was one of the state’s greatest junior and college players.

SCTPF Chairman Ernie James stated: “Bobby and Chuck are very deserving individuals who have made noteworthy contributions to tennis in South Carolina.”

USTA South Carolina Executive Director Jennifer Gregg said:  “ The USTA South Carolina family is extremely lucky to have such great members…Bobby Austell and Chuck Hodgin.  Their individual paths through life exemplify the best of tennis…competition, family, fun and giving back to your communities and a sport we all love.  Congratulations to this year’s SCTPF Hall of Fame inductees!”

Their achievements will be celebrated at the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame Banquet, which will be held on November 20 at Wild Dunes.  The 2020 Hall of Fame inductees, Paul Pittman and Arthur Anastoupolo, will also be inducted during that event as last year’s banquet was cancelled due to the Pandemic.  The South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame is located in the historic train depot in Belton, S. C. and is open to the public.

Bobby Austell

Bobby grew up in Spartanburg where he was a top junior player.  He was ranked #3 in the state, played #1 singles and doubles for Spartanburg High School and was the team MVP and spring sports MVP.  Later he played #1 singles and doubles for Davidson College, was Captain and MVP, and he was a semi-finalist in the Southern Conference tournament.

He continued playing tennis after college while working in real estate development and banking.  Bobby was the primary coach to tennis-playing sons Robert and Glenn.  Glenn was a top 10 state junior player.  He was a scholarship athlete at Presbyterian College when the team was ranked #15 in the NAIA.  Bobby and Glenn have won Father-Son Doubles championships and played in the National Clay Court Championships and the Equitable National Championships held at the U. S. Open.  Bobby was chair of the 1981 American Federal Tennis Classic which included 8 touring professionals.  Austell has competed in state and section tournaments his entire life, winning many singles and doubles titles and earning top rankings in the senior divisions.

Following a 40 year working career, Bobby became the volunteer coach of the Christ Church boys’ tennis team in 2004.  He coached for 13 years.  His teams made the finals of the A-AA high school championships 12 years, winning 6 state titles.  These teams produced 25 All-State players.  Six players went on to play collegiate tennis.  He organized several team trips to the U. S. Open in New York.  Bobby received numerous coaching awards, including the 2012 USTA South Carolina Coach of the Year.  After learning about the National High School All-American Tournament in California, he worked to have Christ Church invited.  They participated 4 times.  After experiencing too much unsportsmanlike conduct at the tournament, Coach Austell suggested team sportsmanship recognition and worked with Stan Smith to lend his name to the award.  Christ Church was the recipient of the Stan Smith Sportsmanship Award in the team’s third trip to the tournament.

The Salvation Army of Greenville applied for a grant from the Ray and Joan Kroc Foundation in 2004 to provide two thirds of the money needed to fund a community center.  The original plans did not include tennis.  Bobby convinced the committee to add a tennis center and promised to raise the additional $1.2 million for the land, building and courts.  Not only did he raise these funds, but he also became the chair of the campaign for the entire Kroc Community Center, which reached its $13 million local goal over a 7-year campaign.  The Kroc Center opened for business in 2011 and included a tennis center with stadium court, 8 clay courts, 8 hard courts and a beautiful community building, soccer field, and campus.  The Kroc Tennis Center has been recognized as the USTA-SC Member Facility of the Year as well as the National Facility of the Year.  It has over 700 members, hosts over 150 USTA league teams and provides numerous USTA junior and adult tournaments.  Each year the Kroc Tennis Center provides over 4,000 hours of pro bono outreach tennis clinics.  Plans are underway to add 5 more courts, and Bobby will again lead the effort to raise the $500,000 needed for court construction.  Bobby continues his volunteer work organizing and coordinating Legacy Charter High School outreach clinics and senior men’s doubles groups.  He works with underserved youth and men from the Greenville Rescue Mission.  He has also initiated outreach for special needs children at Cleveland Park and JL Mann High School.

Austell serves on the Board of the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation and chairs the Youth Program Grants Committee.  He implemented a program to present sportsmanship plaques to players at the state high school individual tournaments and to provide sportsmanship banners to the team champions and finalists.  He continues to coordinate that effort each spring and fall.  Recently he led an effort to raise over $65,000 for the Southern Tennis Foundation to endow two scholarships in honor of former Furman coach Paul Scarpa.

Chuck Hodgin

Chuck was grew uip in Sumter, the son of a legendary tennis player, coach and teacher.  He will join his late father, Charles Hodgin, as the first father-son inducted into the Hall of Fame. 

Chuck began playing tennis at a young age and earned state, section and national rankings.  He was ranked #1 in South Carolina for 6 straight years between 1972 and 1977.  Over these 6 years he was the #1 ranked player in the South for 4 years and #2 in the South for 2 years.  He earned a #8 national ranking in 14U singles in 1973, #25 in 16U singles in 1974, #10 in 16U singles in 1975 and #17 in 18U singles in 1976.  Chuck was also an outstanding doubles player, earning a #1 doubles ranking in the state for 4 years and #1 in the South for 3 years.  He represented South Carolina as a member of the state’s Junior Davis Cup team for 6 years, including leading the team at #1 singles and doubles when they won the Southern Championships in 1977.  While still only 18 years, old Chuck won back-to-back South Carolina Men’s Open singles titles in 1976 and 1977.

Hodgin played #1 singles and doubles at Sumter High School for 5 years.  He was team MVP, All-Conference and All-State and won several State High School singles championships and led his team to a state title.

He won 9 singles titles at the Palmetto Championships in Belton, starting with the 12U in 1970.  He won at least 1 title in each age division, including 4 consecutive 18U titles between 1974 and 1977.  Chuck added 3 doubles titles and ranks second on the all-time boys’ list for total Belton titles.  His 3 titles in  the 1973 tournament is a record he shares with Hall of Fame inductee Richard Hardaway.  Hodgin and his brother Mark are #1 on the total titles by a family with 21 Belton championships.  Chuck played one of the most epic matches ever in the 1976 Palmetto against fellow Hall of Famer Arthur Anastoupolo, surviving 5 match points and a tiebreaker for the second set to win the Boy’s 18U singles 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.

Chuck was among the most highly recruited tennis players in the history of South Carolina.  He ultimately accepted a 4-year tennis scholarship to the University of South Carolina.  He was a 4-year letterman under coach Ron Smarr, playing singles wherever the team needed him, primarily at #2 or #3.  He helped lead the team to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Championships in 1978, playing #2 singles and doubles.  Chuck had a 20-3 record and won the team MVP award in 1980.  He was a co-captain of the 1980-81 team.  He teamed with Ulf Petterson to win prestigious Southern Intercollegiate Doubles titles in 1978 and 1980.  After completing his undergraduate studies at Carolina, he was awarded one of 30 national NCAA scholarships for graduate study in 1981.  He earned his CPA license in 1984 and obtained a Master of Business Administration degree from Carolina in 1988.

During and after college, Hodgin played USTA adult tournaments and was among the top 4 ranked singles players in the state from 1978 to 1985.  He continued to play competitively through 1992 and was ranked #1 in South Carolina, #1 or #2 in the South, and #14 in the nation in Men’s 30s for 3 years, from 1990 to 1992

Chuck showed tremendous sportsmanship and character throughout his playing career.  He was dedicated to athletic training and practice and could be described as a student of the game.  He never had on-court issues and exhibited great character throughout his years of tennis competition.  He always had the respect of his teammates, coaches, and opponents and had the ability to put team ahead of self.  Chuck Hodgin was and continues to be a great role model.

Hodgin was previously recognized for his achievements by induction into the City of Sumter Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and into the Sumter High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.