Tom Lucci

Induction Year : 2019

Sport: Tennis

A straight set humbling in a junior tournament and the subsequent lonely walk back home played major roles in shaping the tennis career of Tom Lucci.

Lucci was only 14 and the tournament was his first. He lost all 12 games he played. The zeroes on the scoreboard motivated him to much bigger and better results, so much so that Lucci’s commitment has led to a trove of championships and honors.

He is the 18th inductee into the tennis wing of the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame.

Lucci was prominent while competing in high school, college, on the Association of Tennis Professional Tour, and in United States Tennis Association play.

His championship run began at the scholastic level when Lucci led Youngstown Chaney High School to three City Series titles (‘74 thru ‘76) as the team’s captain and co-MVP.

At the University of Central Florida, Lucci was part of a nationally ranked team that won a trio of Sunshine State Conference championships. Again, he was a team captain and MVP.

Like a fine wine, Lucci has gotten better with age. He has won nine USTA national championships, three as a single player and six in doubles, stretching from the 40 age group to the 60s.

Lucci continues to captain the USA’s Gordon Trophy team for a competition that originated in 1949 and pits the United States against Canada for players 45 and older. Established after World War II, the Gordon Trophy has been played annually. It is a team competition between Canada and the United States and features the highest caliber of tennis for players 45 and older. The Gordon Trophy’s long history has been held at some of the finest Clubs as the competition has alternated between Canada and the United States.

Frances Dickenson

Induction Year : 2015

Sport: Tennis

Frances became enchanted with tennis at the age of 10 while living in South Florida. She achieved a national junior ranking of seven and won the prestigious International Junior Orange Bowl Tennis Tournament in singles and doubles. Frances was the recipient of the Florida State Sportsmanship Award. She practiced with and competed against Billie Jean King and Karen Hantze Susman, who both went on to win major tournaments.

Marriage and children took Frances away from competing in tennis, but in her mid forties she returned to Florida to the top of the rankings. She was Florida State Champion in the 45 Singles and ranked number one for two years in a row. Still as a Floridian, she won both the 35 and 45 Western Singles Titles in Indianapolis.

Frances began bringing family members into tennis competition. She and her daughter, Farrar, finished third in the Mother and Daughter Division of the 2002 Nationals in Newport, Rhode Island. In 2012, she competed in the National Senior Games in Cleveland and won the Ladies Doubles and Mixed Doubles, the latter with her husband, David. It seems Frances found a good partner in David. They were the number one ranked Senior Husband and Wife team in the United States for both 2013 and 2014. During those years, they won four National Titles.

Frances serves on the Executive Board of the International Tennis Club of the United States and is the Women’s Captain. She has always given back to the game, helping many players and inner city children. She helped start the Eugene Scott Scholarship Fund that benefits junior players, one being Lauren Davis from Gates Mills, Ohio, ranked as high as 55 in the world.

Frances and David, who was inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, Reside in Gates Mills, Ohio.

 

Dan Miller

Induction Year : 2013

Sport: Tennis

When it came to better late than never, Dan Miller was the perfect example for the game of tennis.

Returning to the sport he played as a teenager at Cleveland Heights High, Miller was 50 when he once again stepped on a tennis court. He did not leave it for the next 40 years as he established himself as one of the best senior tennis players in the country.

Playing in age-division tournaments around the world, the retired businessman accumulated 35 “gold balls” for winning both singles and doubles championships during United States Tennis Association national tournaments as he played on clay, grass, hard court and indoor surfaces. He also had 16 “silver balls” for his second-place finishes.

He competed during world championships in England, Germany, Austria, Spain, Australia and the United States. He played with and against U.S. Davis Cup member Gardner Mulloy.

Miller, who turned 97 on Sept 26, 2013, won his final tournament in 2006 at age 90 in a doubles competition. As he liked to chide the “older” golfing set, he never considered taking up that game in retirement. “Golfers ride in a cart, go out and hit a ball,” said Miller. “That’s not an athlete. We kid them a lot.”

After gradation from Colgate, he served in the Navy during World War II and saw action during the D-Day invasion at Normandy. During the service he met his wife, Mabel.

After teaching history at Cleveland Heights for several years, he owned and operated the Dan Miller Heating Co. from 1950 to 1980. Living in Mentor, the Millers raised three children.

Mary Joe Fernandez Godsick

Induction Year : 2012

Sport: Tennis

Mary Joe Fernandez Godsick enjoyed a golden career on the tennis courts of the world.

In the midst of an outstanding run as a professional that included three Grand Slam finals, Fernandez Godsick won two Olympic gold medals representing the United States.

Teamed with Gigi Fernandez (no relation), Mary Joe first prevailed in the women’s doubles at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Team Fernandez reprised their championship performance on U.S. soil, winning gold at the 1996 0lympics in Atlanta.

Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Miami, Fernandez Godsick is the fourth woman inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame. She joins Mary K. Browne, Edna Shalala and Gwyneth Thomas.

Mary Joe’s accomplishments on the pro circuit make her one of the game’s all-time greats. In 1990, after winning the Tokyo Indoor Championship and reaching the finals of the Australian Open where she was defeated  by Steffi Graf, Fernandez Godsick ranked a career-high World No. 4 in singles.

Twice more, Mary Joe would reach the finals of Grand Slam events. She was topped by Monica Seles in the 1992 Australian Open and by Graf in the 1993 French Open.

Fernandez Godsick did reach the winner’s circle in both tournaments, teaming with Patty Fendick to win the women’s doubles championship at the 1991 Australian Open, and partnering with Lindsay Davenport to capture the doubles title at the 1996 French Open.

Mary Joe was a tenacious rival and no better illustration of her fight can be found than the quarterfinals of the 1993 French Open. She saved five match points against Gabriela Sabatini before winning a match that lasted more than three and a half hours.       

She also was the youngest player to win a main draw match at the U.S. Open when at 14 years and 8 days, she defeated Sara Gomer in first round play in 1985.

Fernandez Godsick was a star soon after picking up a racket for the first time. She won four straight Orange Bowl junior titles and turned pro at 15.

Mary Joe lives in Chagrin Falls with her husband, sports agent Anthony Lewisohn Godsick, and their children, Isabella Maria and Nicholas Cooper.

James J. Nance

Induction Year : 1980

Sport: Tennis

A prominent Cleveland business executive with a lifelong interest in athletics, he was instrumental in raising the funds to bring the World Finals of the Davis Cup to Cleveland in 1964.
(Deceased)

Edward DiLeone

Induction Year : 1980

Sport: Tennis

A two-time member of the United States Gordon Cup–Senior Team (1958 and 1959), he was ranked second nationally in senior doubles in 1956 and again in 1964 when he was also ranked third in singles. Also ranked third in senior doubles and fourth in singles in 1963 and 1965 by the Western Lawn Tennis Association. Won numerous Cleveland and Northeast Ohio championships. Was an open singles finalist every year from 1953 through 1956 in various Greater Cleveland championships.
(Deceased)

Edna Shalala

Induction Year : 1980

Sport: Tennis

A collegiate champion at Ohio State University, she was ranked the No. 1 ladies player in Cleveland and Northeastern Ohio from 1933 to 1945 and was a representative to the National Parks Tournament from 1933 through 1952. Between 1936 and 1938 she won championships in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wisconsin. She was the National Public Parks Doubles champion (with Irene David) in 1936, the U.S. Clay Court champion in 1938 and qualified for national tournaments at Forest Hills in 1937, 1938 and 1939. She was ranked first in Northeastern Ohio Women’s Doubles (with Beverly Ramseyer) as late as 1971.

Gwyneth Thomas

Induction Year : 1978

Sport: Tennis

Ranked among the best women tennis players ever produced in Cleveland. Member of 1961 Wightman Cup Team. Won U.S. Womens’s Hard Court Doubles Championship (with Sally Moore) in 1958. Was U.S. Junior Champion in 1954. Ranked among top 15 women in U.S. amateur tennis five times, reaching high of sixth in 1961.
(Deceased)

John Dorr

Induction Year : 1978

Sport: Tennis

Top name in Cleveland men’s tennis for nearly 15 years. Cleveland City Champion in singles and doubles from o1936 through 1950. Won No. One national ranking in senior USLTA doubles competitions in 1954.
(Deceased)

Courtney Bock

Induction Year : 1986

Sport: Tennis

A long distinguished competitive career included Cleveland Muny Singles Championships in 1935, 1939, 1940 and 1941, the Midwestern Open Senior Singles title in 1960, and five National Public Parks Senior Doubles titles pairing with Ed DiLeone. In 1982 he continued with an appearance as a finalist in the NPP Senior Championship.
(Deceased)