Virginia Tennis Legend Hal Burrows Passes Away
Sept. 24, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE – Virginia men’s tennis legend Harold “Hal” Burrows passed away last week at the age of 89. A member of the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Hall of Fame, the 1950 UVa graduate is the only Cavalier to play for the United States Davis Cup team.
“In addition to his superb tennis playing skills, everyone that had the pleasure of meeting Hal Burrows said the same thing about him…he epitomized sportsmanship and was a true ‘Virginia gentleman’,” said Virginia Director of Athletics Craig Littlepage.
Burrows was one of the most celebrated members of the tennis community in Virginia. He won the Virginia State Boys Championship in 1938 and 1939 and the Junior title in 1941 and 1942. Following his service in the US Army Air Force, Burrows attended the University and was a three-year captain and four-year letterwinner at Virginia from 1946-49. Burrows won the Virginia State Championship in 1946, 1947, and 1948 during his time at UVa. During the 1948 season, he reached the round of 16 at the NCAA Tournament, the equivalent of achieving All-American status.
“The Virginia tennis family is saddened to hear about the passing of Hal Burrows,” said head coach Brian Boland. “Hal was well known as a true gentleman of the game for his humility, integrity and respect. He was no doubt one of the greatest players to ever wear the orange and blue, but more importantly, he was an even better person. Over the years I have had the enormous privilege to get to know Hal and his family. He was so proud to have graduated from the University of Virginia and enjoyed following the program so much. I know how much he was humbled when we named the lobby at Boar’s Head after him. Hal leaves a great legacy at UVa. Over the past 14 years, the name Hal Burrows came up everywhere I went and the words honor, integrity, hard-working and humble soon followed. We will all miss Hal Burrows and he will forever be remembered as an example for all of us.”
Following his graduation from Virginia, Burrows was one of the top players on the men’s tennis tour. He teamed with Straight Clark in doubles and the duo was ranked as high as No. 3 in the world, reaching the finals of the National Clay Courts, the semifinals twice in the National Indoors, and the quarterfinals and semifinals of the Italian Championships, the French Championships and at Wimbledon. Over the course of his playing career, Burrows recorded victories over 33 different Davis Cup players and was ranked as high as No. 10 in the world in singles. He and Arthur Ashe are the only natives of Virginia to represent the United States in Davis Cup competition. He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.
In 2013, the lobby of the Boyd Tinsley Courts at the Boar’s Head Sports Club was named in honor of Burrows. It features exhibits of the tennis teams and of Hal’s accomplishments.
In 2005, The Harold M. Burrows, Jr. Endowed Tennis Scholarship was created by the Virginia Athletics Foundation to honor Hal and his accomplishments and is awarded annually to a student-athlete who embodies hard work, integrity, sportsmanship and honor.
Hal is survived by his wife of 34 years, Barbara Blades Tyson Burrows; daughter, Virginia Waring Burrows; and son, Harold Melville Burrows III. Survivors include a nephew, Thomas N. Stuetzer Jr. of Dunwoody, Ga.; and five stepsons, William Landrum Tyson, James Blades Tyson, Joel Wright Tyson III, William Nichols of Charleston, S.C., and Robert Seddon of Mineral, Va. Also surviving are Hal’s five grandchildren, Elizabeth Blades Tyson, William Landrum Tyson Jr., John McCabe Tyson, James Blades Tyson Jr., and Melissa Anne Tyson.
Graveside services for Hal will be celebrated at 2 p.m. on Thursday, September 25, 2014 in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. Suggested remembrance: Harold M. Burrows Jr. Men’s Tennis Scholarship at the University of Virginia, c/o Virginia Athletics Foundation, P.O. Box 400833, Charlottesville, Va. 22904.