CLASS OF 2004
Bill Rompf was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1950 where at the age of 8 his father found an old tennis racquet in their attic and the family began to play tennis on the local public courts one block from their home. Bill and his brother Jon, were both ranked #1 in Iowa in all junior age divisions (singles and doubles) and in the top 5 in the MVTA in singles and as high as #1 in doubles. Bill was nationally ranked in the juniors as high as #14 in the Boy’s 16’s. He attended The Choate School where he played #1 and was the team Captain his junior and senior years. In those same two years the Choate team was undefeated against the nations top private schools and freshman collegiate teams including Andover, Exeter, Deerfield, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Bill and his brother won the New England Interscholastic Championships in doubles (over the number one junior player in the US) in 1967 and the Choate ’67 and ’68 teams were inducted into the Choate Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. In 1966, the Rompf Family was separately awarded the Iowa, MVTA, and USLTA Tennis Family of the Year award, the latter of which was presented to them on center court at the 1966 US Open.
Bill attended Stanford University where he played on the team for three years. His freshman year team was ranked number one in the nation. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with three degrees (Psychology, Anthropology, and Spanish) in three years with a 3.9 GPA. He attended graduate school at the University of Chicago.
During Rompf’s collegiate summer months he began teaching tennis in Des Moines and established operated the Des Moines Junior Racquet Club which was one of the first junior academies to both train and travel/coach juniors at state and sectional tournaments.
After graduate school, Bill traveled to South America to play professional tennis and won several minor professional events in Colombia and Ecuador. While in Cali, Colombia, in 1975, he was appointed by the Colombian Tennis Federation as the Technical Director (Tournament Director) of the Colombia – Mexico Davis Cup match in Cali and then the Colombia - USA Davis Cup match in Bogota. He also worked with many top junior Colombian players during this time.
In 1973, the Mears family (close friends from Iowa tennis days who had relocated to Oklahoma City) invited Bill back to be the Head Pro at Tennis America on Portland and then OKC’s first indoor facility, The Courts on Santa Fe. While OKC boasted some of the best tennis playing and teaching professionals in the MVTA, Rompf’s interest was singular and unique to his fellow pros in that he wanted to predominantly teach junior players and develop sectional and national champions. He set up a the first OKC junior tennis academy initially at the Oklahoma City Tennis Club on Hefner, which was soon outgrown, resulting in the construction and establishment of the Rompf/Summerfield Tennis Academy at the Summerfield Racquet Club on 122nd Street.
During the mid 1970’s through the 1980’s, Rompf and his professional staff trained and developed thousands of Oklahoma State; over 100 MVTA; and more than 45 USTA National junior champions who played both nationally and internationally and ranked as high as #1 in the nation, in both singles and doubles. His students also won 7 USTA and over 10 MVTA sportsmanship awards. Top Rompf Academy players included Mary Norwood/ Rompf, Brian Devening, Meredith Geiger/Walton, Fritz Bissel, and Krunch Kloberdanz. Hundreds of his players went on to play collegiate tennis successfully competing in the NCAA and other college divisions and many played professionally at all of the four major tennis championships.
Rompf always said that any good teaching pro could impart mechanics and develop quality players. He believed that his forte in developing national caliber junior players was teaching his students to believe in themselves and that he genuinely cared about their success and their ability to achieve their dreams and goals both on and off the court. In 2010, Rompf held a 30th OKC Junior Tennis Champions Reunion with over 300 students, their families, and their parents returning to OKC to reunite and celebrate. A 40th Reunion is scheduled for 2021.
During this period in Oklahoma City, Rompf was also very active administratively, consistently serving on several junior committees and Board positions both in Oklahoma, as well as in the MVTA and nationally with the USTA, including chairmanships of Junior 12/14 Implementation Committee; Junior Competition Committee; Junior Davis and Wightman Cup Committees, Sports Medicine Committee; Ranking Committees, Rules and Regulations Committee, and several others. He has alos served on the Board of Directors of the Heart of America Tennis Association; the President and Board of the Connecticut Tennis Association; the New England Tennis Association
Rompf's program was one of the most respected in the country, nationally recognized for consistent success, and industry sponsor supported. He served on the advisory boards of NIKE, Head, Penn, Wilson, and Fila. In 1984, he founded the Oklahoma City Tennis Patrons to help juniors, who could not otherwise afford to learn to play tennis, improve their tennis skills, and reach their best.
In 1989, Rompf left Oklahoma City and was appointed the Executive Director of Sports Psychology at the IMG/NBTA Tennis Academy in Bradenton, FL and then in 1990 was appointed Executive Director and Vice President of the NBTA (today IMG Tennis Academies). During this time, he was in charge of business, marketing and advertising; branding and developing the NBTA at over 10 locations in 6 different countries; writing two books and hundreds of tennis articles (under the Nick Bollettieri name); helping to develop a universal teaching system (System 5; and adopted by the USPTA as their teaching system); and participated in the management and development of such players Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, Monica Seles, Mary Pierce, the Williams sisters, Tommy Haas, Anna Kournikova, Boris Becker, Bjorn Borg, and several others.
In 1995, Bill moved to Kansas City to head up the development of tennis and racquet sports in eleven Gold’s Gyms and then in 1997 to Mystic, CT with Indoor Courts of America in their expansion of “super clubs”.
In 1998, Rompf was appointed the Director of Tennis at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI managing and directing their club operations and selected tennis events, including the Maureen Connolly Challenge Cup, the Mother Daughter Grass Court Nationals, The Open Grass Court Nationals, and several other national and international events. In 2002, he was appointed a Vice President of the ITHOF.
Bill is a 50+ year member and USPTA P-1 certified teaching professional since 1972, a PTR Level 1 professional, and a lifetime USTA member since 1958. He is a former USTA National Tournament Director and USTA and industry award winner for club management and operations, including USTA Facility of the Year in 2002 and the , USPTA Facility Manager of the Year in 2004.
In December of 2002, Bill and his wife Mary (one of his OKC original students and 45 time (gold ball) USTA National Champion, NCAA Champion, and Head Professional at the International Tennis Hall of Fame) were inducted into the Missouri Valley Tennis Association Hall of Fame (the only coach/student couple ever to be inducted). In 2004, he and Mary were also inducted into the Oklahoma District Tennis Hall of Fame. In 2012, Bill was inducted into the Choate School Athletic Hall of Fame and in October of 2014 he was inducted into the Iowa Tennis Hall of Fame. Bill retired from the International Tennis Hall of Fame in June 2010, and became a full time Dad and coach for his 15 year old daughter, Maryann, who was a top ranked in FL and national junior player and is currently a collegiate Division 1 player.
Bill re-located and retired to Lakewood Ranch, FL in 2014. He has been involved in many tennis consulting projects and in 2018 re-branded a sports magazine (emphasis on tennis) called Play Sarasota which he owned, wrote for, edited, and published for the tennis and sports community in the Sarasota Gulf Coast area.
In 2020, Rob Braver, one of Rompf’s first OKC students in 1973 and now a major tennis philanthropist for OKC tennis, seeded the Bill Rompf Scholarship through the Oklahoma Tennis Foundation that provides financial assistance for proven junior players, who could not otherwise afford to do so, achieve and fund their tennis dreams on a national level. This unexpected and generous gesture encouraged Rompf to also begin to reach back to OKC and Oklahoma tennis whereby he initiated the construction of a bronze statue of Francis Baxter – “the person who has done more for Oklahoma tennis for the last 50 years than any other individual” and famed UCO men’s and women’s tennis coach – to be placed at the new Edmond Center Court.