Clarence Mabry, known as the “Father of Trinity Tennis,” died Saturday, Jan. 26, at the age of 87.
Mabry, who coached the Tiger men’s tennis team for 18 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, and 1972 NCAA singles champion Dick Stockton, who became a top-ranked pro. Butch Newman, Trinity’s director of tennis, and former men’s and women’s tennis coach also became an All-American under Mabry’s leadership.
In 1999, Mabry was inducted into the inaugural class of the Trinity University Athletic Hall of Fame. He 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, named in his honor, 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.
Coach Mabry is survived by three daughters: Teri Mabry, Sandy Mabry Hill, and Dena Mabry; a granddaughter, Talia Hill, as well as a brother and sister.
A memorial service is set for 1 p.m., Monday, Feb. 11 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 600 Oblate Drive, San Antonio, 78216. A rosary will be said at 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 10, Mission Park North, 3401 Cherry Ridge, San Antonio, 78230. A visitation will precede the rosary at 6 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in memory of Clarence Mabry, Trinity University, One Trinity Place, #49, San Antonio, TX 78212. Gifts will be for Trinity Tennis.