MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Spring Hill College and Badger’s athletic director shared their thoughts on legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri who passed away in his home in Florida Sunday night. He was 91.
Bollettieri is a SHC Class of 1953 graduate who earned a philosophy degree and played tennis at The Hill, according to an Instagram post from SHC. Bollettieri was inducted into the SHC Hall of Fame in 1994.
Bollettieri “pioneered the concept of a tennis boarding school and founded the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Fla.,” according to the Instagram post. In 2009, Bollettieri was honored with a Distinguished American Sportsman award in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
New 5’s Randy Patrick spoke with SHC AD Joe Niland following the news of Bollettieri’s passing:
Spring Hill College was saddened to hear of the passing of SHC Hall of Fame member and alum Nick Bollettieri. Nick was a giant in the tennis coaching world and exhibited the Jesuit value “of being a man in service to others.” We are praying for his family at this time.Joe Niland, SHC AD
Bollettieri coached over 10 players who were at No. 1 in the world rankings at one point in their careers. Some of those players include Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Andre Agassi.
Billie Jean King took to Twitter to remember “one of its [tennis] most passionate coaches & advocates.”
His former student and tennis legend Agassi also took to Twitter.
“Our dear friend, Nick Bollettieri, graduated from us last night. He gave so many a chance to live their dream. He showed us all how life can be lived to the fullest…Thank you, Nick,” reads the Tweet.