Created in 2002 to celebrate our 20th anniversary, the San Diego Tennis Federation Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals whose remarkable contributions
have made the SDTF what it is today.
This Hall of Fame honors those who put great effort in, not only having the courage to start the club in a then-homophobic and conservative city, but making it thrive to be one of the biggest and best clubs in the GLTA.
A plaque recognizing the Hall of Fame members resides in the clubhouse of the Balboa Tennis Club (Morley Field).
Jim Winters was the founding President of the San Diego Tennis Federation in 1983. When a previous group of gay tennis players banded
together as the “Elite Tennis Club” failed, Jim formed a new group to take gay tennis in a new direction. Jim, along with
5 other players formed the first SDTF, and it quickly grew to over 25 players by 1984. Jim was re-elected President in 1984, and led
the team with weekly pot luck meetings, fundraisers at our host bar, the Grande on Garnet, and organizing the team’s first
ladder and team tennis seasons. Jim was also instrumental in making connections with our older sister teams to the north, the GTF in
SF and the LATA. He led us into head to head team matches with these organizations, and served as president when we met to form the
first San Diego Open committee in 1985, and when we proposed the first “Cal Cup” also in 1985.
Jim was our George Washington and we owe him a great debt of gratitude in getting our fledgling team off the ground in the early 1980’s. Jim has held many board positions over the years since – Ladder Chair, Social Chair, as well as being involved with team tennis and club tournaments. Jim has also been an amazing asset and example of us all on the court over that time. His tennis accolades range from his Silver Medal in the Gay Games in 1986 Open Doubles, to GLTA Open Doubles championships, to 21 years playing Cal Cup, to being SDTF Club Singles Champ in 2002; Jim has kept his own tennis game at a very high level. Jim’s 30+ years of dedication to LGBT tennis and to our club is unparalleled.
Scott Williford was the second President of the San Diego Tennis Federation. He joined SDTF in 1984 and worked alongside Jim’s in
their quest to take SDTF to the next level. Scott was elected President in 1985, and loved it so much he served as President five of the
next six years. Scott even returned in 1995 and 1998 as president again for a total of seven years.
Scott once said he was “born to organize” and contributed early on by helping write the SDTF Constitution and By-Laws with Clarke Hiddleston. He created the detailed proposal for the first tennis “three-way” match, “California Cup” in 1985. The first team event with all three California teams was held in San Diego the following year. He was the club’s first AIM (Athletes in Motion) rep in 1985-6, helping organize the 1986 Gay Games tennis contingent. Scott also helped organize the first seeding points system for national gay tournaments in the late 1980’s along with the LATA’s Gary Sutton. Their unofficial “seeding system” was later improved and adopted by the growing circuit of gay tournaments in 1990.
With the primary goal of standardizing our gay tennis tournaments, Scott coordinated the various clubs around the US and Canada after the 1990 Gay Games in Vancouver. The effort led to the formation of the Gay Tennis Alliance (now called the GLTA), and was elected as the first Commissioner of the GLTA in 1991. Scott was inducted along with Les Balmain (founder of the GTF of San Francisco) into the GLTA Hall of Fame in its first year in 1992.
Scott published the monthly Baselines newsletter for 8 years between 1986 and 1993, and also served as San Diego Open Chair three times. He served as Cal Cup Captain both in the glory years of the late 1980’s, and again in 2007 when he teamed with Jim Winters to bring back the Cup for the first time in 18 years. Scott has always treasured the lifelong friendships he has made on the gay tennis circuit and continues to offer up his experience behind the scenes at SDTF events in recent years.
Romeo Matias can probably be described as the catalyst for the “second generation’ of SDTF players, helping transform the club
in the 1990’s. Romeo joined the team in 1992 and was quickly recruited by Scott Williford to play Cal Cup for the team in October 1992.
He surprised the team by winning all three matches, playing doubles with Brad Hasper that year. Ironically, as of 2008, Romeo shares the
number two spot in all-time Cal Cup wins with Brad at 26. His most important contribution in the early 1990’s was his involvement in
welcoming a whole new group of players into the SDTF at all levels of play. Romeo encouraged his friends from volleyball and other walks of
life to take up tennis and a new wave of growth in the club was spurred on.
Later in the 1990’s Romeo was the director for two San Diego Opens, became club Singles Champ in 1999, Most Valuable Player in 2003, and President in 2004. Through the last 15 years, Romeo has always been there for the San Diego Open Tournament year after year, and he has stepped in to keep the club running smoothly whenever he has been needed.
Probably his most selfless contribution has been the hundreds of hours he has spent on the courts in clinics helping “up and coming” players build some of the same confidence and court savvy he possesses. While he has won many honors and tough competitions on the courts with his grit and his skills, it his generosity, warmth and elegance that has been a steadying influence on SDTF for so many years. Thank you Romeo for everything you do and everything you have done for SDTF.
André Lalias joined the SDTF in 1998, but his gay tennis history goes back to the roots of gay tennis in San Francisco in the 1980’s.
As a San Francsico player, André played in the first San Diego Open and the first Cal Cup in 1986, and when he finally landed in San Diego
in 1998, he attended the last meeting in 1998 to find out how he could get involved. We were thrilled.
André became our first webmaster in 1999 and got www.sdtf.org off the ground and pushed us into the internet age through 2001. He also later twice served as SDTF Secretary and later as Vice President and President in 2002. André’s graphic arts talents are well known around many gay sports teams in San Diego, and SDTF has been one of the biggest beneficiaries, with club logos, tournament programs and tees shirts for just about every event we have had – all designed by André’s special flair. André also served as San Diego Open Director in 2002 during his amazing “IronMan” year, when he seemed to do everything from designing to organizing to fundraising to Pac Cup and Cal Cup captaining to just leading the club. In that year, he helped raise $4,000 for Mama’s Kitchen and the Harvey Milk/Tom Homann Gay and Lesbian Student Scholarship. André also started the SDTF’s Hall of Fame awards in 2002 and presented beautiful awards to the first two very grateful inductees at the San Diego Open that year. He also helped introduce the Singles League and the Talent show that year. A very tired Andrés was rightfully rewarded with the SDTF Player of the Year award for his heroic efforts during 2002.
André has also made great contributions to the gay tennis circuit over the years. He served as co-director for the US Gay open in 1986, started the Seattle Tennis Alliance in 1994 and the Evergreen Tennis Championships in 1995. He started the Northwest Cup (similar to Cal Cup) in 1996 between Seattle, Portland and Vancouver. When he came to San Diego, he used his connections around the circuit to launch the Pacific Cup in 2002, expanding the participating teams to the entire west coast.
More recently, André also served as the webmaster for the Palms Springs tennis league (Desert Tennis Association) and also more recently the GLTA, and he redesigned the current GLTA logo. André now serves as a USTA official (line judge) and is training to be a chair umpire. As an all around sportsman, André’s energy has benefited many sports organizations over the years – we are just very lucky to have been the recipient of this man’s innovation and dedication as part of our great history.
Chris Clarke joined SDTF in 1993 when he heard about us through the Center. And as with most of our great contributors, he wanted to quickly get
involved with the club. His passion to help SDTF grow and prosper was fueled by the happiness he felt from being able to finally combine his love
of the sport of tennis in an environment that was accepting and supportive.
Chris contributed so much in those early years to bringing a new appreciation for the rules and regulations of tennis, and he helped us take San Diego Open to a new level on the circuit with closer linkage to the USTA, proper seeding procedures, tournament scheduling and protocol. He also was the draw chairman for the first two Palm Springs Open tournaments in 1995-96. He has officiated many a San Diego Open finals for us, and of course took his love of tennis to the USTA as an umpire, referee and chief of officials in numerous professional USTA and ITF events, including two Davis Cup Ties, six US Opens and 12 Acura Tennis Classics.
Chris used his tenacity to help the SDTF maneuver through the red tape of getting a federal non-profit status for us – after others had tried to do this before him and had given up; Chris’ efforts have allowed us to reinvest the countless funds saved on taxes back into the club. Chris also served on the SDTF Board in more different positions than any player – serving as Vice President, Treasurer, Social Chair and Public Relations/Rules chair in different years. He also Chaired the San Diego Open in 1996 and Co-Chaired again in 1998, as well as being involved on many other tournament boards.
Chris was one of the only two players (Dale Beaver) to be voted SDTF Most valuable Player in two years – 1994 and 2004. Chris also was the catalyst for getting the City College courts resurfaced and helped Vince Riveroll's charter school to obtain funding to build tennis courts. Chris is a person we have counted on to be there for us for many years and in so many ways he never let the club down. When you see Chris towering over you, it is clear that you have to "look up to him", but hopefully we have explained the many reasons why.
Dale Beaver joined SDTF in 1986, moving to San Diego from Denver and was really taken with idea that SDTF provided a great healthy alternative
setting to meeting and socializing with other gay people. He got involved very quickly, starting an incredible string of 11 straight years on the
Board that next year in 1987. After starting as Rules Chair then Membership Chair through 1991, Dale presided over a real great growth in membership,
and he was proud to push us over the 100 member mark by 1990. After stints as Social Chair and Membership Chair again, he took over as President in
1994, 1996 and 1997 and also acted as San Diego Open Chair, as well as being active on the SDO committee in many other capacities, especially
fundraising. Dale led fundraising efforts for the AIDS Food Bank and AIDS Walk over many years. He also served on the San Diego Athletes In Motion
(Gay Games) committee and attended the Gay Games in Vancouver 1990, New York 1994 and Amsterdam 1998.
Dale was also the very first player voted as SDTF "MVP" back in 1988 - his hard work and dedication to the club was really the inspiration for creating the award itself in that year - it has been a tradition for almost 20 years since that time. Dale also received the award again in 1995. In his long tenure on the Board the club transformed in many ways - growing rapidly in the B, C, and D player levels. Dale organized the team competition for B players called the "Sister Cup" with SDTF and Palm Springs club B players - this turned out to be a pre-cursor to the much larger Pacific Cup competition now which focuses on the 3.5 level players. Dale also got the Wednesday Doubles night off the ground years ago, which has remained one of the most popular weekly club events every Friday night.
While Dale was always known for his selfless devotion the team year after year, he has also contributed greatly over the years in support of many community organizations such as The Food Bank, AIDS Walk, Athletes in Motion, and Feeding America.
George Hamilton was one of the six founding members of SDTF in 1983. George was like everyone’s older brother in those days, but he was also
involved in many of the most important “firsts” for SDTF in the early days. George was the first Director of San Diego Open.
In 1985, when there were only four other gay tournaments in the country, San Diego wanted to be the 5th. George and Matt Carlson volunteered to take on that daunting task, and did a fabulous job, maneuvering deftly through a totally rained out first day (the first two years SDO was held on Presidents Day in February). George was also a member of the first Cal Cup team in 1986 and a member of the first Gay Games contingent to go to San Francisco.
After the first San Diego Open, George Hamilton was Vice President in 1987 and then came back to team with Doug Ford as Co-Director for SDO 3 and 4. In the later 1980’s San Diego Open became known as the “jewel” of the gay tennis tournament circuit. George was a big part of that success for our club. In 1991, when Scott stepped down as President after a string of years, George stepped forward again to lead the club as President.
George was in the middle of just about everything in those early years of the club and has been less active on the courts in recent years but he did earn a bronze medal in the 2004 Sydney Gay Games in the 55 and over singles division. George’s contributions to the long success of the club have earned him an important place in our Hall of Fame.
Rancy Breece was a member of SDTF from the early days of the club’s formation. Although he was not a founding member, he came shortly after
and did boast one first for the club. Rancy published the first Newsletter for SDTF in 1984 – before the newsletter even had a name. Rancy
enjoyed writing player bios for new players joining the club and was later elected as Vice President in the historic SDTF year of 1986, when so
many firsts for the club happened such as Cal Cup, SD Open I, and the club’s first gay Games.
He was also an enthusiastic fundraiser in this position. After being an early SDTF pioneer, Rancy took off several years from the club to raise a foster child. When he returned in the last 1990’s he poured his energies back into SDTF and has been a tireless volunteer in the last decade for the team. No other player has been an officer for 9 straight years (2001-2009).
Rancy has served as President, Vice President, Secretary (twice) and membership Chair (6 times). He has been a volunteer year after year for our tournaments and our club events. Managed to keep the Friday Doubles night going for years, and pioneering annual events such as “Veterans and Virgins”, and “Sweetheart Doubles” on Valentines Day.
The words that can be used to describe Rancy, “dedicated”, “selfless”, “reliable”, all understate his caring and generous nature. His award as “Most Valuable Player” at the 2008 Holiday Party says it all.
Vince Riveroll is the first Hall of Famer that grew up right along side of the early SDTF club itself. In the early SDTF days in the
mid-1980’s, Vince could be seen (and heard) grunting his way through high school matches at Balboa Tennis Club. After going to college on a
tennis scholarship to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA where he was named Academic All- American and Male Student-Athlete of the Year.
Vince returned back home to San Diego in 1993, and joined the SDTF by appearing in a 1994 Cal Cup match in San Francisco. Since that time, he has made tremendous contributions to the club and to the San Diego community. Vince started his career as an award winning inspirational teacher at an inner city school, and became principal at age 32. Now he is known as a pioneering educator in one of San Diego’s most underserved communities. He served as SDTF membership chair, social chair, and vice president before taking over as President in 2000.
On the court, he has been inspiration and model of sportsmanship also. He has played on the Cal Cup team for 18 straight years, winning 29 matches. His passionate cheerleading style helped his team bring the Cup to San Diego in 2007 and 2010. He has also been ranked as high as #1 in the GLTA standing, won two consecutive masters cup championships, clubs singles and doubles championships over the years, but his greatest on-court achievements have probably been at our annual San Diego Open tournament. He has made San Diego proud, by reaching the Open Final in 13 of the last 17 years, winning a total of 9 San Diego Open single championships making him the record holder for the most SD Open single titles.
His “never quit” attitude has allowed him to achieve many things, and overcome many obstacles in life, and we’re honored to induct Vince as the 9th member of the SDTF Hall of Fame in 2010.
Allen Sanchez joined the SDTF in 2001 after having a conversation with Hiroko Ray about the “gay tennis league” in her shop. He jumped
into volunteering with the club the very first year, supporting the San Diego Open committee that year but building the draw sheets for the
tournament. After that initial introduction, he was encouraged by Romeo and Scott to get more involved and he certainly did, running for Webmaster
in 2002, Vice President in 2003 and increasing his involvement with San Diego Open each year until he served as Director of SDO in 2005 and was
elected Most Valuable Player that same year.
In 2007 he began a string that no other player has matched – five straight years as President. During that time he was able to juggle all the complications of running a club that had grown to well over 200 members. He also focused intently on keeping our team competitions strong, supporting the Cal Cup, and Pac Cup teams while helping form the new West Coast Cup in 2011. The club reaped the rewards of his focus on these areas, winning 6 team Cups during that time.
Never a “high-profile” attention seeker, Allen often worked quietly and collaboratively to get things done. His selfless hard work earned him the reputation as “Mister SDTF” over the last 10 years, unlike any other player in this most recent era of our club history. Please welcome Allen as our 10th member to the SDTF Hall of Fame.
Brad Hasper has been one of SDTF’s legends that spans the earliest days of the organization to the current days. He discovered the club after
coming to a San Diego-San Franscisco match at the River Valley Tennis Club in 1985. He was already well-known in local gay sports circles for his
prowess in local Billiards and Softball leagues, but wanted to add a new sport to his schedule. The next year was 1986, when he would be an
inaugural member of the first California Cup team, and also played in the first San Diego Open.
Today we call him the “Iron Man of SDTF” as we honor him for being the only player to play in all 29 San Diego Opens and the only player to play in the first 28 Cal Cup matches. Brad was VP of the Federation for two years, serving as an important fundraiser for the club and a host for many Federation social events. He was honored as player of the year in 1990 for his great support of the club. Brad also pushed for our influence outside the Federation, serving as the first SDTF member on the Board of Directors of Balboa Tennis Club, and was later given the 2006 Sportsmanship award from the SD District Tennis Association.
Brad has more titles and trophies to list but his long-time dedication to SDTF and tennis are born out in recent 65 & Over doubles and team tennis wins. Brad’s fun spirit, big heart, and tenacious competiveness are now where they should be – in the SDTF Hall of Fame.
On even-numbered years, individuals are nominated and voted in by the current Hall of Fame members. At the year-end Holiday Party the new Hall of Fame members
are announced and receive a beautifully-engraved crystal trophy. Their names are later engraved on a plaque which resides in the clubhouse of the
Balboa Tennis Club (Morley Field).
The criteria for consideration into the Hall of Fame includes, but is not limited to: