Tennis coaching legend Arlo Elkins dies

GoGamecocks staff reportsApril 1, 2012 

Head coach Arlo Elkins addresses the crowd during the dedication ceremony of the USC Tennis Center. A dedication ceremony was held Monday afternoon to open the new USC Tennis Center located on the site of the old Sarge Frye Field.

KIM KIM FOSTER-TOBIN — kkfoster@thestate.com

Longtime USC women’s tennis head coach Arlo Elkins died Saturday at his home in Columbia. He was 62.

Elkins entered the 2012 season, his 29th at Carolina, with a career record of 431-290 and 19 NCAA Tournament appearances. Elkins stepped aside from day-to-day activities as head coach in February for health-related reasons.

Funeral arrangements for Elkins are still pending. He is survived by his wife, Tara, three children, Alyssa, Elliott, and Kelsey, and grandchildren Jayne Mac, Asher, Eloise, Sadie, and Charlie.

Elkins served as USC’s women’s tennis head beginning Aug. 15, 1983.

South Carolina made 17 NCAA Tournaments in a row and reached at least the second round in 15 of those appearances. The Gamecocks’ 17 straight NCAA bids stand tied for the 11th longest active streak in the nation. Elkins’ teams reached the NCAA Sweet 16 four times (1990, 1995, 1999, 2009) during his career and made one trip to the quarterfinals in 2009. In 15 of his seasons, USC appeared in the top 25 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s season-ending poll.

The South Carolina women's tennis program boasts one of the athletics department's top team grade point averages, frequently at or above 3.4. The women’s tennis team led all Gamecock squads for the highest semester GPA in spring 2011 with a 3.576 mark. Under Elkins, 41 Gamecocks earned SEC Academic Honor Roll recognition 98 times.

Individually, Elkins received many awards during his tenure in the Palmetto State.

In 1988, he was named U.S. Professional Tennis Association Southern Division Coach of the Year while also earning the S.C. Tennis Association College Coach of the Year and ITA Southeast Region Coach of the Year awards. Seven years later, he became the first head coach at South Carolina in any sport to win SEC Coach of the Year.

Elkins was named the 1994 and 1996 ITA Southeast Region Coach of the Year as well, and in December 2003, he was inducted into the S.C. Tennis Association Hall of Fame. Elkins is a member of the Rockford High School Hall of Fame in Rockford, Mich., as well.

Before becoming a coach, Elkins played professionally and competed in the main draws at Wimbledon and the French Open.

He worked as the director of tennis and head professional at Spring Valley Country Club in Columbia prior to taking over head coaching at South Carolina.

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