Clarence Mabry, known as the “Father of Trinity Tennis,” was one of the original Tiger Legends. His leadership of the men's tennis program set an example for future coaches and programs to follow at Trinity. Coach Mabry died Saturday, Jan. 26, at the age of 87.
Mabry, who coached the Tiger men’s tennis team for 19 years (1956-1974), developed the Trinity tennis program into a national power. His teams amassed a record of 319-36. Mabry guided the Tigers to the NCAA Division I Team Championship in 1972, and to the runner-up position in 1970 and 1971.
Teams coached by Mabry produced 10 All-Americans, including the late Chuck McKinley, the Wimbledon champion of 1963; along with 1972 NCAA singles champion Dick Stockton, who later became a top-ranked pro. Butch Newman, Trinity’s Director of Tennis, also became an All-American under Mabry’s leadership (and later served as men’s and women’s coach).
In 1999, Mabry was inducted into the inaugural class of the Trinity University Athletic Hall of Fame. Seven former players coached by Mabry are members of the Hall of Fame: Chuck McKinley, Bob McKinley (a former Tiger men’s coach) and Stockton (Class of 1999); Frank Conner and Frank Froehling (Class of 2001); Butch Newman and Cliff Buchholz (Class of 2005); Brian Gottfried (Class of 2009); and John Newman (Class of 2011), who played on Trinity’s first scholarship team in 1957. The 1972 NCAA Championship Team was inducted in 2003. Miles Cortez, a current Trinity Trustee, also was a Mabry-era tennis player.
Mabry was also a member of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame (1984), the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame (1985), the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame (2001), and the United States Professional Tennis Association Hall of Fame (Grand Inductee, 2006).
A former University of Texas standout, Mabry captured the 1946 Southwest Conference singles and doubles titles while playing for the Longhorns. He was inducted into the University of Texas Hall of Honor in 1997.
A native of Alice, Texas, Mabry was the head pro at the former San Pedro Tennis Courts, now known as McFarlin Tennis Center. He was a founder of the John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels, Texas. In addition, Mabry coached the San Antonio Racquets of World TeamTennis.
The Mabry Pavilion was dedicated in 2008, and stands at the Butch Newman Tennis Center on the Trinity campus. The two-level pavilion serves as a centralized hub for Tiger matches, team meetings, and a site to display Trinity tennis photos and memorabilia.