MINOR HERNDON MICKEL TENNIS CENTER
Furman University’s tennis programs, which over the years have brought great distinction to the university with numerous championships and outstanding play, boast as their home one of the region’s top tennis facilities, the Minor Herndon Mickel Tennis Center.
The central building of the tennis center, which encloses approximately 41,000 square feet, features four indoor courts and a clubhouse with offices for the men’s and women’s coaches, locker rooms for home and visiting teams, lobby, lounge, and viewing area for the outdoor courts. The complex also includes an outside stadium court with seating for 400 people and 15 outdoor courts.
The $2 million complex was completed in 1996 and named in honor of the later Minor Mickel, a long-time supporter of the university and first woman to serve as chair of the Furman Board of Trustees. An original gift of $600,000 was made in 1993 by Mrs. Mickel’s family in her honor. Additional commitments by the family, alumni, and friends of the university in the following year boosted the total to nearly $2 million.
Mrs. Mickel, a native of Elberton, Ga., and graduate of the University of Georgia, was a longtime Greenville resident. She served on both Furman’s Advisory Council and Board of Trustees, and, in 1989, became the first woman ever to chair the board. In addition, she was honored with the school’s Mary Mildred Sullivan Award and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in 1993, prior to her death in 2005.
The complex also honors other individuals for their contributions to Furman.
Family and friends of the late B.O. (Tommy) Thomason, an avid tennis player and Furman graduate who served as the university’s chief legal counsel prior to his death in 1993, made gifts in his memory. One group of outdoor courts is called the Tommy Thomason Men’s Complex.
The stadium court is named in honor of Paul Scarpa, who served for 45 years as Furman’s men’s tennis coach prior to his retirement in 2011. Court One is named in honor of longtime women’s coach Debbie Southern. Other courts have been named by donors to honor family and friends.
In 2009 the Furman men’s tennis scoreboard was given by Barry Cox, a Scarpa pupil, in honor of his father, Charles W. Cox, former president of Daniel Construction and avid tennis player and friend of Scarpa. The outdoor courts for both the men’s and women’s teams were resurfaced in the summer of 2011.
Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams have been extremely successful, combining to win 53 Southern Conference regular season and tournament championships over the years.