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Irish Play the Tom Fallon Invitational

Oct 4, 2012, 3:07 PM EDT

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This coming weekend, nine members of the Notre Dame men’s tennis team will square off against some stiff competition here in South Bend at the Tom Fallon Invitational (another four will be traveling to California to compete in the Napa Valley Classic). For those of you who don’t know who Tom Fallon was, you ought to learn a little bit about the man who retired in 1987 as the winningest head coach in Notre Dame history.

Tom Fallon won more than 500 matches in his 31-year tenure at Notre Dame. Just two seasons into that stretch, he earned his first of two undefeated regular seasons and an NCAA championship. He retired with better than a 72% winning percentage and was inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame in 1988.

Yet, Fallon isn’t just remembered for his accolades as a tennis coach; Fallon bled blue and gold. A member of the class of 1942, he served four years as a Navy officer in World War II and earned a doctorate in physical education from Columbia before returning to his beloved Notre Dame. In addition to coaching tennis, he founded the wrestling program in 1952 and coached it for 15 years. He was chairman of the physical education department and was director of activities at the Rockne Memorial Fieldhouse. Fallon and his wife, Eleanor Williams, even sent all three of their children to Notre Dame.

There seem to be so many memorial events out there recognizing someone whose name you may have never heard. Sometimes, it’s important to take a minute to get to know who that person is and why he or she is being honored. Starting this Friday, the Irish will play the Tom Fallon Invitational. Keep Tom Fallon in mind as they battle Cleveland State, Illinois State, Marquette and Western Michigan at the Courtney Tennis Center.

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