WINSTON-SALEM'S THE CHRONICLE: Class of 2021 Inductee Dr. James Ewers, Jr., "Hometown Hero Reflects On A Life Well Lived"

 


 

Over the years, we have seen plenty of great athletes come from the city of Winston-Salem. Many have played one of the major four sports, but one mostly unsung hero from the city is finally getting his flowers while he is still here.

Dr. James Ewers Jr. was a star tennis player as a youth. His accomplishments from his high school and collegiate careers are truly remarkable. But it’s what he has done off the court that makes him the epitome of the American dream.  

Ewers is a Winston-Salem native and actually began his career in tennis as a teenager. His first experiences with the game came at the Skyland Elementary School tennis courts that were around the corner from where he lived. 

“I started playing with one of my dear friends named William Earl and he and I were really the only guys playing tennis at the Skyland School, because everyone else was playing basketball,” said Dr. Ewers. “I grew up playing basketball, and playing baseball, and swimming, and I did all of that stuff. But I think the draw that brought me to tennis was that it was different and I didn’t see a lot of people playing it.

WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH: Exclusive Conversation With Ann Koger - The Life Experience Of An African-American Woman Who Would Not Be Denied

 

                          INTERVIEWED BY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SHELIA CURRY IN MARCH 2019 (All Rights Reserved)

 

Ann Koger is one of the most inspirational women that I have had the opportunity to become acquainted with in my lifetime. She is one of those invincible human beings that fulfilled her dreams and life pursuits at a time when segregation and racism were wholly systemic and acceptable. The accomplishments achieved by Ann practically appear as if doors for African-Americans and women were wide open and inviting, when in actuality they were closed and unwelcoming. Ann has earned a societal place among the greatest, yet she is not the least bit interested in the shine that inherently comes with it. She sees her journey as experiences that were either “not an option,” to “I just kept going.” From growing up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland to retiring in 2016 after 35 years as the Head Coach of Women’s Tennis at Haverford University. Here are some of Ann’s accomplishments and accolades:

  • A four-year letter winner in four of the seven varsity sports (basketball, field hockey, volleyball and tennis) she competed in while at Morgan State University and was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.

  • The second female member of Morgan State’s tennis men’s team, ranking second in singles between 1969-1972 and first in doubles. In 1971

  • One of the country’s first African American women to play in the Virginia Slims Tennis Circuit, competing from 1973 to 1977

  • Is a certified USPTR teaching professional and a member of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). Her educational background includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from Morgan State University, and an Ed.D. in Sports Administration from Temple University.

  • Officiated at many levels of basketball for 25 years, and in 1985, she became the first woman to officiate an NCAA Division I men’s basketball game.

  • The First Vice President of the American Tennis Association, Koger was the co-director of the 1985 NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championships.

  • Honored by many organizations throughout her career, Koger received a national community service award from USTA/Volvo/ITA in 1989 and another from USTA for Division III in 1996.

  • In February 2000, Ann Koger cancelled the Haverford College women’s tennis team training in Hilton Head, South Carolina to join the national boycott over the Confederate flag that flies over the state’s Capitol Building.

  • Honored as part of the 2007 International Tennis Hall of Fame Exhibit ‘Breaking the Barriers’ at the 2007 US Open in New York, N.Y. as an accomplished and pioneering professional tennis player and as a contributor to the exhibit through artifacts and oral history.

  • Selected as a member of the Black Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2010 and was inducted into the Hall of Achievement at the Philadelphia Association of Black Sports and Culture

  • Devotion to tennis has earned her a spot in the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Middle States Hall of Fame Class of 2010.

  • Served as 2015 Coach of the United States Tennis Association Middle States Girls 18 National Team Championship.

  • Also In 2015, Koger was elected and appointed to a second term of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Board of Directors and serves as a member of the ITA Small College Operating Committee

  • Named the 2016 Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) Coach of the Year 

WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH: The Women of Black Tennis Hall of Fame


INAUGURAL CLASS OF 2008

  • Althea Gibson, Pioneer/Player

  • Lucy Diggs Slowe, Pioneer/Player

CLASS OF 2009 

  • Ora Washington, Pioneer/Player

  • Bonnie Logan, Player

  • Zina Lynn Garrison, Player

CLASS OF 2010

  • Ann Koger, Player

  • Leslie Allen, Player

CLASS OF 2011

  • Isadore Channels (Izzy), Pioneer/Player

  • Flora Lomax Bray, Pioneer/Player

  • Lulu Ballard, Pioneer/Player

  • Lori McNeil, Player

ClASS 2012

  • Katrina Adams, Player

  • Margaret "Pete" Peters and   

       Matilda Roumania "Repeat" Peters,

       Player/Pioneers

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