Mathis enters HOAD Tennis Hall of Fame
One of the area's tennis pioneers will take a permanent place in history tonight when he is inducted into the United States Tennis Association's Heart of America District Hall of Fame.
That pioneer, Jim Mathis, will enter the Hall of Fame alongside Mission, Kan., resident Paul Smith at the HOA District's annual meeting at the Milano at Crown Center, 2450 Grand, in Kansas City, Mo.
Mathis started the tennis program at Leavenworth High School in 1967. He was at the helm for 28 years, and his teams won six Centennial League titles from 1972-1979.
Mathis was named to the Kansas High School Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998, and he remains active in the sport to this day. He helps run the Sunflower League tournament each year, and he also runs Leavenworth High's home tournaments.
Mathis was one of the founders of the city's Labor Day Open, and he has served as the tournament director for all 25 years of its existence. Mathis also founded the City of Leavenworth Tournament, a summer event that includes residents from Lansing, Leavenworth and Fort Leavenworth.
Smith, a New Zealander, is the director of tennis at Mission Hills Country Club and a former coach of the Kansas City Explorers' World Team Tennis franchise. He has won the Kansas City Open doubles title more than 10 times and won multiple Heart of America Adult Player of the Year honors.