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Former UWM tennis coach inducted into Wisconsin Senior Olympics Hall of Fame

Posted at 10:34 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 23:34:07-04

MILWAUKEE — It was the moment that Jim Siegel knew he'd always have a tennis racket in his hands. Jim's wife, Mary, doesn't disagree. She'd be more surprised if the man who always gets the last serve does anything less.

"I would play every day, and I'd play this one person that I lost to every single day. Then at the very end of the summer, this is the truth, we ended up playing in the finals and it was the only time the whole summer that I beat him. He went home crying, that is the honest to God truth," says Jim Siegel, Senior Olympics doubles and singles tennis player.

With that victory in his pocket, Jim would go to play in high school and later walk on at the University of Wisconsin.

"Next day, they had me play the number four man, Pugh Shane, and I beat him in three sets. I started playing on their varsity, going from the no team, the rainbow team they called it," says Jim.

Always able to find his way onto the court, Jim made tennis his job.

"My first job out of college was UWM varsity tennis coach. I was the tennis coach over there for a few years doing the men's and the women's. My whole life has been tennis pretty much," says Jim.

Even with coach in his title, Jim never stopped competing himself.

"I usually play about four to five times easily during the summer, and then during the winter I probably play four times a week indoors. You don't do that unless you are really in love with the sport," says Jim.

Now 75 years young, Jim has dominated the senior circuit for the past 25 years.

"Well ten senior Olympics, I have 14 medals. I have eight gold, three silvers, and two bronze. Every time we've gone to a Senior Olympics I've come home with a medal," says Jim.

Those 14 medals are national. When it comes to the state of Wisconsin the list of Jim's achievements go on, and on.

"My men's doubles partner Ralph Felton, we were 55 and we entered every tournament from 35 doubles, 45 doubles, 50 doubles, and 55 doubles and we got ranked number one in the 35's, 45's, 50s, and 55's and that's never been done," says Jim.

As a 2022 inductee into the Wisconsin Senior Olympics Hall of Fame, you might think Jim is done playing. Well, think again.

"Last week, I confirmed that the next Senior Olympics is in Pittsburgh and we have to qualify next month in August. Both my doubles partners want to go to Pittsburgh. So we're going there and I think we are going to do pretty good," says Jim.

Needless to say, Jim's hall of fame resume may have to be updated a few times before he passes away. That is if Jim goes out swinging the way he plans to.

"I'm going to be going down on a tennis court. I hate to say that, Mary, but that's a good way to go," says Jim.

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