CLASS OF 2003
Paul Duffield was born February 24, 1905, in Rockland, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1930 with a B.S. degree in Geology. He worked for Texaco from 1932 to 1960, most of the time as a Geological Oil Scout in the States of Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Paul loved to play tennis, but his forte was teaching and promoting this wonderful game. In 1948, he initiated and sponsored the "Paul Duffield Labor Day Tournament" in Maltoon, Illinois, which featured the world's largest traveling trophy to the Men's Singles Winner. He moved to Shawnee that year, but would return each summer after that to present the trophy to the tournament champion.
Before he came to Shawnee in 1948, this city of 32,000 had never won a State High School Tennis Title. Beginning in 1950, Shawnee had a state winner or runner-up for the next ten years with players like John Been, Dale Anderson, Win Dawson, Billy Stout, and Don Brewington. "Duff," as he was affectionately called, worked at the Texas Oil Company during the day, played tennis until dark, and finished the day by coaching beginners at night. He patched rackets at no charge, furnished rackets and balls for beginners, and donated his services as high school coach. After early retirement from Texaco at the age of 53, he embarked full time on his life-long hobby of tennis and became a registered teaching professional in 1966. He served as the Head Coach of the Oklahoma Baptist University tennis teams from 1960 to 1973.
Duff received numerous awards from appreciative civic clubs and other organizations for his work in tennis. In 1962, World Tennis Magazine presented him with its Marlboro Award, an international tennis citation, which goes only to those who have made significant contributions to the sport of tennis. He created the biggest little tennis center in the United States, and in 1978, the City of Shawnee named their new tennis center the "Paul Duffield Tennis Center."
Paul's greatest claim to tennis fame began in 1958 when a little shy, blond-headed 10-year old girl showed up at the court to play. Patsy Rippy and Duff ruled junior tennis in Oklahoma, the Missouri Valley, and the nation for the next eight years.
Paul Duffield was as energetic and constant a tennis devotee as this State has ever seen. He spent countless hours of his time promoting the game. His zeal and enthusiasm for the game touched the lives of Shawnee's tennis community for four decades. He passed away on August 19, 1990.