CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University paid tribute to one of her strongest tennis supporters Saturday, Nov. 16 with the dedication of the Kelly Hall Tennis Complex and inducting Hall into the CU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Saturday's recognitions began with a brunch at the Betty Dobbins Heilman House at 10:30 a.m., followed by the dedication of the tennis complex at 11:30 and induction into the Hall of Fame during halftime of the football game, which kicked off at 1:30 p.m.
"I'm not sure I'm deserving of the honor, but it's obviously very nice," Hall said. "When I came down here some years ago, I saw where Campbellsville was practicing, and I just felt like they were at such a disadvantage. I wanted to help a little bit. One thing led to another, and we have good on-campus courts now."
Hall, a 1965 graduate of Campbellsville College, has become a successful businessman since his teaching days in Kentucky's Meade County and Jefferson County school districts. In 1989, he and his late wife Judy started a franchise operation called Texas Wings Inc., with exclusive rights to Texas for the fledgling restaurant chain Hooters. Over the next 20 years, the franchise grew to 43 locations in Texas -- the largest and most successful franchise for the chain.
Since that time, Hall has made significant financial contributions to CU's tennis programs. In 2005, he and Judy made a donation to name Court 1 of the Tennis Complex. Two years later Court 2 was named, and in 2009, the Halls donated a serving machine to the program.
Most recently, Hall made a sizeable donation that allowed CU athletics to resurface the tennis courts, update the facility's windscreen, scorecards and more. The donation is large enough to resurface the facility at least two more times over the next 10-15 years.
"It takes resources to be able to do the things we want do, and to have someone like Kelly Hall step up and make a gift to the tennis complex has been a great benefit for us, our student-athletes and the tennis program," Rusty Hollingsworth, CU director of athletics, said. "We're excited to induct Kelly Hall into our Athletics Hall of Fame. Being an alum makes it special for him, and us too. He's been so giving to our athletic program, especially through the tennis complex, which was named in his honor."
|Dr. Michael Carter (left) and Rusty Hollingsworth (right) induct Kelly Hall into the CU Athletics Hall of Fame.|
Though Hall did not begin playing tennis until his 30s, it has become a life-long sport and passion. He has been ranked No. 1 in the state and Southern Sectional on numerous occasions. In 2008, Hall was ranked third nationally in the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Men's 65 doubles and was ranked fourth in 2013. He has competed in several international tournaments in the sport.
When he began talking to CU about helping build the tennis courts, he said he wanted to see the college or university? improved.
"It's an investment not only on the campus itself, but more so for the kids playing. It was important not only for the tennis team but for any of the students going to school to make sure it was going to be used for everybody, not just a select few. They've honored that," said Hall.
The Halls worked closely with Chuck Vaughn, former director of the Big Maroon Club, and CU tennis head coach Kyle Caven through many of his recent contributions.
"Kelly has achieved great success in the business world and has demonstrated his great love for CU and its tennis program through his generous giving," Vaughn said. "He has an earnest desire to give back and to support the many young student-athletes in the Campbellsville University tennis program. Competitive tennis has been an important part of Kelly's life, and his generosity has certainly helped the CU tennis program to compete at a high level.
"Campbellsville University athletics appreciates all that Kelly has done, and we feel very fortunate to have a supporter like him. He deserves every recognition that comes his way."
Caven, who was joined at the dedication by his entire men's and women's tennis teams, presented Hall with a replica of the men's team's 2012 national title ring for winning the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) title.
"I got to meet Kelly a few years ago. We went down to get a ball machine from him, and we hung out for a few days. He and his late wife Judy are very genuine people. We liked hanging out with them and have been able to stay in touch. We're very appreciative of them," Caven said.