Bill Rogers and a trio of tennis greats inducted into Brenau’s Athletics Hall of Fame


Bill Rogers and a trio of tennis greats inducted into Brenau’s Athletics Hall of Fame

GAINESVILLE, Georgia, September 30, 2015 – Dr. Bill Rogers, the man who led Brenau’s tennis team to two NAIA national championships and five Intercollegiate Tennis Association singles championships, will be inducted into the Brenau University Athletics Hall of Fame this weekend, alongside three of his most outstanding players.

The official induction ceremony takes place at an invitation-only luncheon at noon on Saturday, Oct. 3. The festivities are a part of Brenau’s 2015 homecoming weekend, which also includes a parade and a slate of alumnae games and activities. Other attractions include a biergarten, a concert and several opportunities to watch Brenau’s current student-athletes showcase their soccer and volleyball skills.

Joining Rogers in the 2015-16 hall of fame class are three of Brenau’s all-time tennis greats, all of whom played under Rogers’ leadership: Leyla Ogen of Birmingham, England; Helene Macchi of Montreal, Canada; and Alexandra Rossi Rashed of Geneva, Switzerland.

Three other Rogers-coached athletes were inducted last year. They are Antonina Grib Lerch, a Brenau trustee who resides in Los Angeles and is a costume designer and fitter with work featured on Mad Men, Dexter and True Blood; Laurence Neuville, a Parisian who now works for the interior-design fabrics company STOF; and Sheau Shan Liew, who is currently a project manager in her home country of Malaysia.

Rogers, who is now the dean of student services at Georgia Gwinnett College, said he is deeply moved by the prestigious honor.

“I am truly grateful to have so many wonderful memories of the enduring relationships fostered by my time at Brenau,” he said. “I owe a debt of gratitude to the brave, intelligent and courageous women of Brenau, for they gave me more than I ever gave them. But it was Brenau that gave us all opportunity.”

Rogers, whose head coach tenure ran from 1990 to 2005, accumulated more than 300 victories. In addition to winning national championships in 1999 and 2002, his Golden Tigers also won two NAIA national doubles championships and five ITA Super Bowl championships in singles competition.

He racked up seven conference coach-of- the-year awards, two NAIA national coach-of- the-year honors and a coach-of-the-year accolade from the ITA. In 15 seasons, his teams finished in the top ten national rankings 12 times.

In 1998 the NAIA selected him as the organization’s representative for the United States Tennis Association’s Outstanding Community Service Award. He was enshrined in the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2006.

Leyla Ogen, a psychology major who graduated in 2001, was a four-time All American and a member of 1999’s NAIA national championship team. She was ranked the No. 1 player in NAIA collegiate tennis and reached the finals of the NAIA singles nationals in 1999.

Hailing from Solihull, England, Ogen was a top-ranked tennis player before she even came to Brenau. She was a top 10 player in Great Britain and even cracked the top 500 Women’s Tennis Association’s global rankings. After graduating from Brenau, she represented Great Britain in several World Team Games, taking home international championships in 2012 and 2013. She is now a senior tennis coach at Edgbaston Priory Club.

Helene Macchi, a French-born athlete who graduated from Brenau in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing, was named an NAIA All American in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

In 2005, she was the recipient of the Marvin P. Richmond Outstanding Player Award, a national honor given annually to one female and one male athlete. The same year, she was a member of the Golden Tigers team nationals runner-up squad.

For the last decade, Macchi has worked for Pirelli Tire North America. Today, she serves as the company’s marketing manager.

Macchi said she is delighted to join her former coach in the 2015 hall of fame class. Her experiences on and off the court at Brenau, she added, helped her find just as much success in the corporate world as she did in tennis.

“What I have learned through my years at Brenau served as a base for my professional career,” she said. “I would recommend Brenau to any young ladies who are looking to have a solid foundation through life.”

Alexandra Rossi Rashed, who grew up around Evian, France, earned a B.A. from Brenau in 1994 and an M.B.A. in 1996. She began playing as a sophomore in 1992 and was named an All American three consecutive seasons. While pursuing her postgraduate degree, she was an assistant tennis coach for the Golden Tigers.

As a youth, the standout player was ranked top eight nationally in France’s 10-to-16 age categories. She was handpicked for Brenau’s tennis program by Rogers himself.

“I will be forever grateful to Brenau for helping me become a better, stronger person,” she said. “I got to understand the real meaning of hard work, teamwork, humility and openness, and I took those values back home with me.”

After leaving Brenau, Rashed returned to Europe. She is currently the global channel marketing director for SITA, an international air transport communications and IT company.

The hall of fame induction ceremony is but just one of the many events and attractions planned for this year’s homecoming. The festivities officially begin Friday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. with a volleyball game against Brewton-Parker at the Brenau University Gym.

A second home game against Coastal Georgia is slated noon on Saturday, Oct. 3, with an alumnae volleyball game following immediately.

Chapter alumnae and family members can visit Brenau’s renovated sorority row during open house, scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. An alumni biergarten bash will follow at 3:30 p.m. on Wilkes Lawn.

A homecoming parade – complete with a drum line, about a dozen floats and Brenau President Ed Schrader and his beloved chocolate lab Jake leading the way – begins circling the famed “Brenau Mile” at 4 p.m. The route starts at the John S. Burd Center for the Performing Arts and takes a right turn at Boulevard. After two left hand turns at Washington Street and Prior Street, the parade ends at the Brenau Trustee Library on Academy Street. During the public event, there will be closures along Academy Street, Boulevard, Spring Street, Perry Street and Prior Street from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.

An alumnae round-robin tennis tournament is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Smithgall Tennis Center. A soccer game against Faulkner University takes place at the Allen Creek Soccer Complex from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The evening wraps up with a concert from local favorites The Fly Betty Band at the Brenau Amphitheatre at 8 p.m.

The weekend festivities conclude Sunday, Oct. 4, with alumnae basketball and soccer games at 1 p.m.
For more information on the full slate of homecoming weekend events, please contact David Morrison or (770) 534-6167.Brenau

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