CHARLESTON, WV, USA - Fern Lee 'Peachy' Kellmeyer, the first employee and director of the WTA in 1973 who still serves the organization, will be inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall Of Fame.
Along with Bob Pruett, a football, wrestling and track star with a 27-year coaching career, Kellmeyer is the first inductee to the West Virginia Sports Hall Of Fame from the sport of tennis, and will be inducted at the 68th annual Victory Awards Dinner this coming May 4 at the Charleston Civic Center.
"What a surprise and honor," she said. "If I haven't learned anything in this lifetime, it is that no one gets anywhere alone and I have been one lucky lady to have others there to help me along the way.
"It's extra special, also, to be honored in my hometown."
Kellmeyer, who was born in Wheeling but settled in Charleston when she was six, became involved in tennis as a talented junior player. She was winning local titles at the Charleston Tennis Club at age 11, Orange Bowl, Penn State and two state singles titles at Oglebay Park the next few years and, at age 15, she became the youngest woman at the time to compete in the US Nationals at Forest Hills.
She went on to become a star collegiate athlete, playing No.1 at the University Of Miami from 1964 to 1966, and becoming the first woman to play on a Division 1 men's team. She was also ranked nationally and competed at Wimbledon and the US Open before taking the administrative route.
Also, in 1966, while Athletic Director at Marymount College, she spearheaded a lawsuit that led to the dismantling of an Association For Intercollegiate Athletics For Women rule that prohibited athletic scholarships being awarded to female athletes at colleges across the US. The case paved the way for Title IX and contributed greatly to the increase of female athletes in intercollegiate athletics.
Kellmeyer was the first employee and director of the WTA in 1973 and still serves the organization to this day as an Executive Consultant of WTA Operations. During her tenure she has been at the center of all major policy decisions in over four decades of growth of women's tennis, including the fight for equal prize money. Also, the WTA Player Service award is named after her - the Peachy Kellmeyer Player Service Award - and she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall Of Fame in 2011.
From everyone at the WTA and wtatennis.com, congratulations to Peachy on this latest honor.