Billy Chadwick had a Hall of Fame weekend, as well he should. The Jackson native returned home to enter Mississippi's prestigious sports hall and museum.
That was last Friday and Saturday, and Chadwick was still buzzing about all the goings-on as he left for Europe on a recruiting trip Tuesday.
"It was an absolutely great weekend," said the veteran Ole Miss tennis coach, whose 1995 Rebel team finished second nationally to Stanford as the high point of the program to date. "It was all so exciting to be a part of in my hometown of Jackson."
It was also the 10th anniversary weekend of the Hall of Fame and Museum building located on Lakeland Drive. Many former Hall inductees from the past 44 years since the Hall was founded returned for the events.
"I'm so impressed with what they're doing at the museum," Chadwick said. "It's a special place. And the banquet Friday night was really unique. There was a terrific video display on all the inductees this year. There was also a tribute to all those who had passed away in the last year, including of course Coach (John) Vaught. That was all professionally done and very moving."
Chadwick said there was good representation from Ole Miss athletics, including Pete Boone, Langston Rogers, Blake Barnes, and Eddie Crawford. Several former Rebel tennis players were also in attendance, including Dave Randall and Nick Barone.
"It was a wonderful weekend, not only for me and my family but for Ole Miss," Chadwick said. "And I sat next to Ray Brown (former Ole Miss football player and MVP of the 1958 Sugar Bowl), and that was special. He's got to be one of the nicest guys on the planet."
Chadwick continues to applaud the fans of Ole Miss for being so supportive of his teams and program through the years, and also his former and current players.
"I'm extremely proud to have been able to be at one school for this long," he said. "It's hard to fathom that I am the longest tenured coach at Ole Miss. I've been fortunate to have success, and it's a great feeling to have taken a program from last in the SEC to where we are now. This honor is a credit to all the great players we've had here.
"This honor also belongs to the fans that have helped put us on the national level. We have developed a huge following over the last 10 to 15 years, and it's exciting to be a part of something that's getting bigger each year."
After the weekend of fun, socializing, and awards, it was off to find more players for Ole Miss tennis. His team is already set for this year, which Chadwick said could be one of the best he's had at Ole Miss.
He will be in Germany and Sweden and perhaps other countries for the next several days as he not only recruits for the future but also touches base with at least a couple of current players during his travels.
Chadwick is excited about the 2006-07 team, which returns five of the top six players in Erling Tveit, Eric Claesson, Bram ten Berge, Jakob Klaeson, and Robbye Poole. Also back are redshirts Chris Rea, Matthias Wellermann, and Amhed El Tabakh. Gone through graduation is Juan Pablo Di Cesare, last season's team captain.
"I'm really looking forward to the fall and am anxious to see how the team shapes up," Chadwick said. "We've got to take it up a notch this year. As we do every year, we want to win it all, and that's certainly our No. 1 goal again this season."
Chadwick back at work after weekend of honors
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