From a professional career to coaching at the college level, tennis is life for Richard “Dick” Stockton.
Stockton said, “the thing I love about tennis is that you can play it any age.” He said you do not see others playing lacrosse or soccer at the age of 70.
Born in New York on Feb. 18, 1951, he was on the professional tour from 1971, and he retired in 1986. Stockton graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and he was the coach at the University of Virginia from 1998 to 2001. He is currently the head coach for the men’s tennis team at Piedmont College.
Stockton began playing tennis at the age of 6. He had an older brother who was 11 at the time who would play tennis, and his mother would help feed balls to Stockton. He picked up the game of tennis very quickly, and he enjoyed playing the sport. He also played baseball, and he enjoyed it very much, but tennis came more natural to Stockton. “I wasn’t very good at baseball, but I was way better at tennis,” he said.
While on the professional tour for tennis, he was ranked number 8 in 1977. He was also ranked number 13 for doubles around the same time.
“I developed new friendships with people from the United states that were on tour and from other countries also. I enjoyed playing the people that I looked up to growing up that was still on tour. My favorite Grand Slam was the Wimbledon Championships. The atmosphere was just phenomenal,” he said.
While on tour, Stockton said he enjoyed competing against several different player with different style of play. A person he said that he did enjoy playing was Jimmy Connors who was also an American player on the tour. “We played with each other even before we were on tour, so we have always been great friends,” he said.
“Coaching has always been in the back of my mind to coach,” because he recalls how his coaches helped and inspired him.
He had so much respect for his coach, and he said that he hoped to have the same respect from his players also. Stockton wanted to help encourage others and help the players grow in their tennis career just like his coach did for him. “There is a lot of potential in the guys that play, and I’m glad I’m able to coach them,” he said about Piedmont’s tennis team.