USC’s Steve Johnson Named Pac-12 Men’s Tennis Player of the Century|
April 12, 2016
USC’s most decorated tennis collegian, Steve Johnson, has been named the Pac-12 Men’s Tennis Player of the Century, joined by five other history-making Trojans on the Pac-12 Men’s Tennis All-Century Team. On the women’s side, the trailblazing Barbara Hallquist DeGroot has landed a spot on the Pac-12 Women’s Tennis All-Century Team to represent the Women of Troy.
Pac-12 Women’s Tennis All-Century Team honoree Barbara Hallquist DeGroot was USC’s first female scholarship athlete. She won national team championships with the Women of Troy in 1977, 1978 and 1979 as well as back-to-back USTA Singles titles in 1976 and 1977. A four-time All-American, Hallquist Degroot went on to play professionally and reached the singles quarterfinals at the 1980 US Open. Today, the ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Famer is back at Troy serving as volunteer assistant coach for the USC women’s tennis team.
Pac-12 Men’s Tennis Player of the Century Steve Johnson finished off his USC men’s tennis playing career riding a 72-match singles win streak that carried him through back-to-back NCAA Singles titles (2011 & 2012) to go along with the four straight NCAA Team Championships (2009-12) that the Trojans collected during Johnson’s tenure at Troy. A two-time ITA Player of the Year and Pac-12 Player of the Year, Johnson also nabbed honors as the Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year three times. He’s gone on to build a strong professional career, competing regularly at Grand Slams. Johnson is currently ranked No. 32 in the world ATP singles rankings, and is No. 47 in doubles.
Joining Johnson on the Pac-12 Men’s Tennis All-Century Team are some big names from USC’s storied tennis history. USC leads the nation in men’s tennis NCAA Team Championships, thanks in large part to this esteemed group of All-Century teamers. Alex Olmedo (1956-58), Rafael Osuna (1961-63), Dennis Ralston (1962-64), Stan Smith (1966-68) and Bob Lutz (1967-69) are all in the ITA Men’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame. Osuna and Ralston were teammates on USC’s 1962 and 1963 NCAA Championship teams, while Smith and Lutz were teammates on the Trojans’ 1968 NCAA Championship team. Olmedo won a pair of NCAA Singles titles (1956 & 1958) with NCAA Doubles crowns also claimed those years. He’d set an NCAA Singles Championship trend that Osuna (1962), Ralston (1963 & 1964), Lutz (1967) and Smith (1968) continued. Lutz and Smith also combined forces to win back-to-back NCAA Doubles titles in 1967 and 1968. Osuna, meanwhile, captured three NCAA Doubles crowns (1961, 1962 & 1963), pairing with Ralston for that 1963 crown before Ralston won another one with Bill Bond in 1964. That crew of Trojans would go on to capture numerous Grand Slam titles, too, as each has at least one Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open or U.S. Open championship to his name.
For the complete list of Pac-12 Tennis All-Century Team honorees, go to pac-12.com.