Austell, Hodgin Inducted Into S.C. Tennis Hall of FameNov 30, 2021 03:57PM ● By David Dykes
The South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation and USTA South Carolina announced that Bobby Austell of Greenville and Chuck Hodgin of Sumter, who now lives in Birmingham, Ala., are 2021 inductees into the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame.
Austell became the 72nd Hall of Fame inductee, Hodgin
The accomplishments of both men were celebrated at the South
Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame Banquet on Nov. 20 at Wild Dunes.
Austell is a former USTA junior and NCAA college player who has dedicated years of service to tennis as a player, volunteer, high school coach, fundraiser and benefactor.
Austell grew up in Spartanburg where he was a top junior player. He was ranked #3 in the state, played #1 singles and doubles for Spartanburg High School and was the team MVP and spring sports MVP.
Later, he played #1 singles and doubles for Davidson College, was captain and MVP, and a semi-finalist in the Southern Conference tournament.
He continued playing tennis after college while working in real estate development and banking.
Austell has competed in state and section tournaments his entire life, winning many singles and doubles titles and earning top rankings in the senior divisions.
Following a 40-year working career, Austell became the volunteer coach of the Christ Church boys’ tennis team in 2004.
He coached for 13 years. His teams made the finals of the A-AA high school championships 12 years, winning six state titles.
Those teams produced 25 All-State players.
Austell received numerous coaching awards, including the 2012 USTA South Carolina Coach of the Year.
The Salvation Army of Greenville applied for a grant from the Ray and Joan Kroc Foundation in 2004 to provide two thirds of the money needed to fund a community center. The original plans did not include tennis.
Austell convinced the committee to add a tennis center and promised to raise the additional $1.2 million for the land, building and courts.
Not only did he raise the funds, but he also became the chair of the campaign for the entire Kroc Community Center, which reached its $13 million local goal over a seven-year campaign.
The Kroc Center opened for business in 2011 and included a tennis center with stadium court, eight clay courts, eight hard courts and a community building, soccer field, and campus.
The Kroc Tennis Center has been recognized as the USTA-SC Member Facility of the Year as well as the National Facility of the Year.
It has over 700 members, hosts over 150 USTA league teams and provides numerous USTA junior and adult tournaments.
Each year the Kroc Tennis Center provides over 4,000 hours of pro bono outreach tennis clinics. Plans are underway to add five more courts, and Austell will again lead the effort to raise the $500,000 needed for court construction.
Austell continues his volunteer work organizing and coordinating Legacy Charter High School outreach clinics and senior men’s doubles groups.
He works with underserved youth and men from the Greenville Rescue Mission. He has also initiated outreach for special needs children at Cleveland Park and JL Mann High School.
Austell serves on the board of the South Carolina Tennis Patrons Foundation and chairs the Youth Program Grants Committee.
He implemented a program to present sportsmanship plaques to players at the state high school individual tournaments and to provide sportsmanship banners to the team champions and finalists. He continues to coordinate that effort each spring and fall.
Recently, he led an effort to raise over $65,000 for the Southern Tennis Foundation to endow two scholarships in honor of former Furman coach Paul Scarpa.
Hodgin grew up in Sumter in the 1960s and 1970s and was one of the state’s
best junior and college players.
He played #1 singles and doubles at Sumter High School for five years. He was team MVP, All-Conference and All-State and won several State High School singles championships and led his team to a state title.
At the University of South Carolina, he was a four-year
letterman under coach Ron Smarr.
Hodgin helped lead the team to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Championships in 1978, playing #2 singles and doubles. He had a 20-3 record and won the team MVP award in 1980. He was a co-captain of the 1980-81 team.
He joins his late father, Charles Hodgin, as the first father-son inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame is located in the historic train depot in Belton, S.C., and is open to the public.