October 31, 2012

Grove City naming tennis facility

GROVE CITY, Pa. – Grove City College will dedicate its tennis facility in honor of retired head tennis coaches Patti Zbell and Joe Walters November 9. The facility will now be known as the “Walters-Zbell Tennis Courts.” The College will hold a reception in the Physical Learning Center from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. to commemorate the dedication.

Zbell coached the women's tennis team at Grove City College from the program's inception in 1974 until her retirement following the 1990-91 academic year.

She helped the program attain varsity status in 1974 and during her 17 seasons as coach, Zbell directed Grove City to a 134-29-1 overall record. Her .820 career winning percentage is the highest for any Grove City head coach in any varsity sport.

Her teams won six Women's Keystone Conference titles between 1980 and 1985. During that span, Grove City compiled an 80-1 overall record, including a 36-0 record against conference opponents.

Grove City then won six Presidents' Athletic Conference championships from 1985 to 1990. Zbell earned seven Coach of the Year honors from the WKC and PAC.

The College inducted Zbell into its Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.

Walters spent 40 seasons as the head men's tennis coach at the College and accumulated a 358-137 overall record from 1973 to 2012.

Grove City earned 23 Presidents' Athletic Conference titles under Walters' direction, including 22 straight titles from 1991 to 2012.The conference honored Walters as its Coach of the Year in each of his last seven seasons and 22 times overall.

In 2011, he led the men's tennis team to its first NCAA Division III Championship Tournament appearance. Grove City advanced to the regional semifinals after opening with a 5-3 win over Elizabethtown.

The Wolverines again reached the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament in 2012. Grove City defeated Penn State Harrisburg in the opening round before falling to No. 12 Middlebury in the regional semifinals.

Walters served as interim head women's tennis coach in 2004 and led the team to an 11-1 record and a conference title. He became women's tennis coach permanently in 2008 and coached the team to a 53-20 record.

The Wolverines won PAC titles in each of those four seasons and qualified for four straight NCAA Tournaments. Walters earned the conference's Coach of the Year award in 2010 and 2011 for women's tennis.

Overall, he accumulated 422 overall coaching victories in 46 combined seasons. Walters-coached teams posted winning records in 42 of those 46 years.

The tennis facility will be the fourth athletic venue at the College to be named for a retired coach/administrator. In 1975, Grove City named its football and track facility in honor of retired athletic director Robert E. Thorn.

In 2009, the College dedicated its baseball facility to retired athletic director/baseball coach R. Jack Behringer. Later that year, Grove City named its competition pool in honor of retired head men’s swimming and diving coach James E. Longnecker.

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