September 14, 2011

Washington College Hall of Famer Tom Eliason '42 Passes Away

CHESTERTOWN, MD -- Washington College Athletics is saddened by the loss of Tom Eliason '42, who played and coached tennis at the school and remained connected to its tennis program for decades.  Eliason, who passed away this morning at the age of 93, was inducted into the Washington College Hall of Fame in 2009.

As an undergraduate student, Eliason spent countless hours at the school's tennis courts, playing or watching. In 1940, Dr. Wilton Tolles, a professor of English and the part-time tennis coach, enticed Tom to come out for the team. By his junior year, Eliason had blossomed as a player and was a member of a team that would become the school's best tennis squad in nearly four decades.

Tom's first stint as head men's tennis coach was from 1948 to 1955, responding to the pleas of a student who insisted that he coach or the team would fold. Eliason's most successful season was in 1952, posting an 8-2 record. Following the 1955 campaign, Eliason stepped down as coach to take a more active role in the family business. Only five years passed before long-time friend and athletic director Ed Athey persuaded Tom to come out of retirement and save the program one more time. 1963 marked the end of his last tour of duty for his beloved college, yet he remained an avid supporter of the tennis teams until his passing. 

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