Christine Gray guided the Blue tennis program to five NCAA Tournament appearances during her tenure as Head Coach from 2001-2008, winning four consecutive New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament Championships from 2004-2007 and Seven Sisters titles in 2002 and from 2006-2008. Wellesley was dominant with Gray at the helm of the program, posting three 20+ win seasons as Gray earned NEWMAC Coach of the Year honors in each season from 2004-2007. Gray was named the 2006 USTA New England College Coach of the Year, 2006 ITA Northeast Region Coach of the Year and was a finalist for ITA D3 National Coach of the Year in 2006. The Blue boasted over 40 NEWMAC All-Conference selections during Gray's tenure, while Jenna Mezin '08 and Hali Walther '08 each earned All-American honors under Gray's guidance.
When I first arrived at Wellesley College, though I was already in my 30s and had dipped my toe into a couple of career paths, I was still in a place of discovering who I was as a person and a professional. Wellesley ended up being the place that allowed me to creatively carry my post-graduate teaching degree from a public high school history department setting to an entirely different, yet significantly important, challenging and rewarding “alternative classroom”. I look back at Wellesley College still impressed (and thankful) that it was the place where I could unapologetically approach the profession of teaching and coaching in athletics with a true seriousness of purpose. Here, I felt that teaching and coaching wereactually respected and recognized by students, faculty and staff alike, as a vital component of higher education.
The unique professional opportunity was even outmatched by my professional and personal relationships with the PERA coaches and administrators. I recall engaging in department and coaches’ meetings, and attending faculty meetings, where my eyes were opened, my mind and opinions were challenged, and my humility was cemented as I was surrounded by experienced, talented, passionate, and capable coaches and administrators. I remember those same professional mentors I looked up to using genuine care, warmth, friendship to support me through trying personal challenges and celebrate the joys and satisfaction of team success.
I will never forget the impressionable and lasting connections garnered with every conversation in every one of my colleagues’ offices. This Hall of Fame induction is not just for the coach, but for the women who dedicated just as much time, care and energy to Wellesley and Wellesley Tennis, both on and off the court. Our teams had players from near and far, bringing enthusiasm, varied talents, creativity, and hard work to Wellesley. Most importantly, each player believed in Wellesley’s ability to make history in NEWMAC and NCAA tennis, all while making friendships and acquiring skills for a lifetime. In that successful journey to our ultimate goals, we learned, practiced and laughed a lot!