DelPri­ore, Faturos twins to en­ter Hall of Fame

The Buffalo News - - SPORTSTALK - By Char­lie Garfinkel

Rachel DelPri­ore and twins Jim and Art Faturos will be in­ducted into the Buf­falo Ten­nis Hall of Fame Oct. 15 dur­ing a din­ner cer­e­mony at Tran­sit Val­ley Coun­try Club.

Todd Miller, pres­i­dent and founder of the Buf­falo Ten­nis Hall of Fame, notes that this year’s in­ductees are an elite group that com­pares fa­vor­ably with the in­ductees of the past. A sum­ma­tion of their ac­com­plish­ments:

Rachel DelPri­ore

At the age of 10, DelPri­ore be­gan tak­ing ten­nis lessons from Miller at Miller Ten­nis Cen­ter (then called Amherst Hills).

“Even at an early age I knew that Todd was the ten­nis pro who would help my ten­nis game the most and de­velop my strengths,” she said. “Some coaches are just one-di­men­sional. Todd lets you de­velop your game both phys­i­cally and men­tally.”

DelPri­ore started com­pet­ing in Na­tional Clay and Hard Court ten­nis tour­na­ments and was ranked in the top 15 in the East in the 14 & Un­der di­vi­sion. She rose to No. 2 in the East and top 50 na­tion­ally in the 18 & Un­der di­vi­sion.

At Wil­liamsville East, DelPri­ore set a record that may never be equalled, to­tal­ing 72 sin­gles wins from sev­enth grade through her se­nior year. Af­ter high school she was awarded a full ten­nis and aca­demic schol­ar­ship to Ohio State. How­ever, she de­cided to go at­tend the Univer­sity of Virginia (ranked in the top 25 na­tion­ally) with­out a schol­ar­ship and made the team as a walk-on.

“I wanted to play at the high­est level and Virginia was my first choice,” DelPri­ore said.

In her sopho­more year at Virginia, DelPri­ore al­ter­nated be­tween first and third sin­gles, de­feat­ing such play­ers as Michelle Mitchell, who was ranked No. 1 in the coun­try in the 14 & Un­der di­vi­sion at one time (6-0, 6-0) and JJ Lar­son, a for­mer top-10 player na­tion­ally in the ju­niors.

DelPri­ore de­vel­oped Celiac, an au­toim­mune gluten al­lergy that caused many in­juries each time she tried to play ten­nis. She moved back to Buf­falo and started teach­ing at Miller Ten­nis Cen­ter and played very lit­tle. About three years later she got the urge to play tour­na­ments again.

In 2003 she won the Ladies Muny Open Sin­gles Cham­pi­onship. In 2007 she won the Muny & City Open Sin­gles Cham­pi­onships. Both years she was ranked as the No. 1 player in WNY by The Buf­falo News. For the next few years she teamed with Olga Kh­mylev and Joe Schafer to win many women’s and mixed dou­bles.

DelPri­ore won the 2013 Buf­falo Sum­mer Cham­pi­onships at Miller Ten­nis Cen­ter, de­feat­ing Wake For­est’s Lisa Fer­nan­dez, a top-25 col­lege player, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Todd Miller said, “Rachel has had a phe­nom­e­nal ten­nis ca­reer. One par­tic­u­lar year her game was on par with any lo­cal player, male or fe­male in the area. She con­tin­ues to play and en­joy ten­nis in At­lanta in USTA leagues.”

Art and Jim Faturos

The twins, both out­stand­ing base­ball and bas­ket­ball play­ers, were most fa­mous for their out­stand­ing ten­nis skills. Jim said, “Art and I loved base­ball and bas­ket­ball. Our gym teacher was Mr. Kron­man at School 21 ele­men­tary school. He was one of the great­est ten­nis play­ers to have ever com­peted in West­ern New York. He was even a bet­ter per­son and started the Buf­falo Evening News Ten­nis School, which was the largest of its kind in WNY his­tory. Play­ers from all over the county in­clud­ing my brother and I were in­volved in his ten­nis pro­gram. Any suc­cess that we had was due to Mr. Kron­man’s teach­ing and ex­per­tise.”

Art said, “We were for­tu­nate to have ath­letic skills that led us to do well in all sports. Even though we loved dif­fer­ent sports we knew that we couldn’t play bas­ket­ball and base­ball all of our lives. Be­ing so close as broth­ers and ten­nis part­ners we al­ways had some­one to play ten­nis with.”

Leo Kron­man, who was also my ten­nis coach, re­lated the fol­low­ing to me years ago: “In the many years of my teach­ing phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion and ten­nis I could only re­mem­ber a few stu­dents who had the ath­letic skills that the Faturos twins pos­sessed.”

At Bennett the twins had a leg­endary ca­reer. They were All High in dou­bles their sopho­more year. Arthur and my­self were All High at first dou­bles our ju­nior year and Arthur was All High sec­ond sin­gles his se­nior year. Jim was All High at first sin­gles his ju­nior and se­nior years. The team of 1956 was ar­guably the great­est public high school ten­nis team in the his­tory of WNY, go­ing 11-0 in dual matches and 55-0 to­tal.

Jim played first sin­gles for two years at the Univer­sity of Buf­falo and went 15-0 his se­nior year, never lost a set and was named MVP. He grad­u­ated with a de­gree in phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion. Arthur, who was at­tain­ing a de­gree in phar­macy, couldn’t play ten­nis in col­lege due to his school work­load.

Af­ter col­lege the twins teamed to win five City Open dou­bles cham­pi­onships. Jim also won a ti­tle with Lloyd Tack, and Art won one with Peter Sca­murra (his nephew) for a to­tal of six each. It is fea­si­ble to think that they would have won at least another five ti­tles if they could have played to­gether dur­ing a 10-year stretch in which Art’s phar­macy sched­ule lim­ited his avail­abil­ity.

What made the twins such an out­stand­ing dou­bles team? They both were 6-foot-1 and had huge wing spans. Their serve-and-vol­ley game is re­garded as one of the most dev­as­tat­ing of any teams to have ever played in WNY. Their chem­istry on the court was non­pareil, and their rep­u­ta­tion for sports­man­ship and com­pet­i­tive­ness was well known.

Some, in­clud­ing the late Leo Kron­man, felt that the twins, with the proper train­ing and guid­ance, could have been one of the top-10 dou­bles teams in the United States.

“Buf­falo Ten­nis Night,” which fea­tures the Buf­falo Ten­nis Hall of Fame Cer­e­mony, starts at 5 p.m. Oct. 15, with din­ner and awards to fol­low. The cost is $50 and checks should be sent to Miller Ten­nis Cen­ter, 5959 Sheri­dan Drive, Wil­liamsville, N.Y. 14226. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion call the club at 632-8600.

James P. McCoy/Buf­falo News

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