By: Intercollegiate Tennis Association
Francis Baxter joins Nick Bollettieri, James Blake, Matias Boeker and Bill Otta in this year's Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame induction class.
The 2017 ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Men's Hall of Fame Enshrinement Banquet will be held on Thursday, May 25, at the Georgia Center during the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Championships, May 18-29, at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.
Francis Baxter enjoyed tremendous success during his long tenure as tennis coach at UCO, directing the men's program for 36 years (1970-06) and women for 26 years (1980-2006). Prior to coaching college tennis, he spent 14 years coaching high school tennis and won three state titles. At Central Oklahoma, he led the men's and women's teams to six NAIA District 9 championships in the 1980s while taking the men to three NAIA national tournaments and the women to one. Baxter was named District 9 Coach of the Year eight times in the 1980s. Baxter also guided his teams to eight combined NCAA Division II national tournament appearances, six for the men and two for the women.
Baxter was named Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year for the women in 1998 and the men in 2004, while also claiming Division II Coach of the Year accolades for the men in 1996. He coached 14 players who earned NAIA or Division II All-America honors a combined 25 times, including the school's first-ever Division II national champion (Charl Bornman). Baxter was also the driving force behind UCO hosting the NCAA Division II national tournament in 1991, '92, '93 and '96 in addition to the ITA/Rolex National Small College Championships in 1993 and '94.
As a player, Francis served as captain of a United States international team from 1993-01, leading the 60-and-over men to the Von Cramm Cup title seven straight years from 1993-99 and taking the 50-and-over men to the Fred Perry Cup crown in 2000 and 2001. He was inducted into the USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame in in 1991 and the Central Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2009.
The ITA Men's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame is housed at the University of Georgia's Henry Field stadium in Athens. The late, legendary Georgia men's coach and Hall of Fame member Dan Magill served as curator and chairman of the Hall of Fame. The current curator is John Frierson. The ITA Men's Hall of Fame, which includes over 1,800 rare photos, inducted its first class in 1983 and has inducted more than 260 players, coaches and contributors since then.