Alice Tym, left, accepts her award at the Southern Conference honors banquet.
Alice Tym, left, accepts her award at the
Southern Conference honors banquet.

Alice Luthy Tym and Shannon Wommack were among 25 women of distinction recognized recently by the Southern Conference. The Southern Conference defined the honorees as women who have significantly promoted and elevated women’s athletics at each participating SoCon institution.

“Alice was chosen for her coaching career at UTC while Shannon was chosen for her excellent athletic career at UTC,” said Laura Mincy, Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator.

Departmental committees were formed at Southern Conference schools to select the best female student-athlete in each conference sponsored sport in which the school participates. Those athletes made up nine anniversary teams. The UTC honorees are: Shannon Wommack, Cross Country; Tyleana Hanner, Indoor & Outdoor Track; Rachael Evans, Volleyball; Regina Kirk, Basketball; Anastasia Zhukova, Tennis; Diana Jallo, soccer; Beth Alexander Edgar, Softball.

“We created a second category to recognize others (non-student-athletes) who have made or are still making a significant contribution to the advancement of women’s athletics on each campus. This category consisted of administrators, former coaches, former athletes who have achieved national/world status, financial benefactors, and the like,” said Sue Arakas, Southern Conference Associate Commissioner.

Alice Tym, currently a faculty member in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Georgraphy, served as Head Women’s Tennis Coach at UTC from 1974-1978, and she is credited with starting the varsity program. Tym’s teams won the State Championship four years and the team won the AIAW Small College National Championships in 1977 and 1978. All members of the team were named AIAW All-Americans.

While Tym was coach, the UTC Women’s Tennis Team defeated University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ohio State, University of Wisconsin, Alabama, Auburn, Indiana, Georgia, Purdue, Northwestern, LSU and William and Mary among many others.

Some of Tym’s players have made their own contributions to the sport, including:

  • Candy Reynolds, who won the Collegiate Indoor Championships in 1976 and placed 3rd in the National Intercollegiate Championships. She turned pro and partnered with Martina Navratilova in doubles.
  • Sue Bartlett, who became the Girls Preparatory School tennis coach and a national age division player.
  • Kathy Kolankiewicz, who played professionally and is the women’s tennis coach at the University of New Mexico.

Tym herself was ranked # 13 in the world in 1969. She played in all the major world championships between 1964 and 1970 including five times at Wimbledon, five times at the US Open, the French Open, the Italian Open and the Australian Open. She was ranked #1 in Western Association of the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

She started the women’s tennis team at the University of Florida in 1960. From 1978-1982, she served as Director of Tennis and Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Yale University.

Tym has been honored with numerous accolades for her accomplishments. She is an inductee in the University of Florida Sports Hall of Fame, an inductee in the Peoria High School Hall of Fame, an inductee, Peoria Sports Hall of Fame. The team she coached at Yale honored her in 2006 at the Yale Club in New York City for having the best tennis record in Yale’s history.

Shannon Wommack

Shannon Wommack, UTC’s most decorated track and cross country female athlete, was named the 2006 Southern Conference Female Athlete of the Year.

A graduate student from Conyers, Ga., Wommack won the 2005 SoCon Cross Country Runner of the Year Award and both the 2006 SoCon Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Most Outstanding Performer Awards. She is the only female athlete in the history of the league to claim all three awards in the same year. The only other athlete to accomplish the triple crown was UTC’s Steven Kocsis in 2003-04.

Wommack is the only four-time All-America in school history. She has earned two All-America honors in cross country and two in outdoor track.

During the 2005-06 season, the distance runner won her third SoCon Cross Country individual title. In the fall sport, she placed first at the NCAA South Regional race and picked up All-America accolades with a 19th-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

During the indoor track season, Wommack claimed SoCon titles in the 800 and 3,000 meters and the mile run, setting SoCon records in the 3,000 and the mile.

En route to her second straight Most Outstanding Outdoor Performer trophy, Wommack won the 1,500 meters and the 3,000-meter steeplechase in SoCon-record times. Her win in the steeplechase was her fourth individual title in that event, and she finished second at the NCAA Mideast Regional to qualify for the NCAA Championships. There, she capped her brilliant collegiate career with a record-shattering performance and a third-place finish in the 3000 meter steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Friday night.

She concluded her career with 14 SoCon Indoor titles and seven SoCon Outdoor titles. Overall, she collected 23 All-SoCon accolades.

She is a four-time Track and Field Coaches Association Academic All-America. While she pursued a degree in Rehabilitation Science, she earned a spot on the UTC’s Dean’s List and Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in every academic semester.

Wommack was also the 2005 recipient of the A.C. “Scrappy” Moore Award at UTC, given to the student-athlete who best personifies the Athletic Department’s motto of Success with Integrity through Academic Achievement and Community Service.

Wommack is the third UTC athlete to win the SoCon Female Athlete of the Year Award. Former distance runner Mary Jane Middelkoop received the honor in 1997, and former basketball player Jennifer Wilson won the award in 2003.

See the names of all those on the “25 of Distinction” list.

See the names of al those on the 25th Anniversary Teams list.

Southern Conference
Southern Conference “25 of distinction,” Alice Tym is pictured at bottom left.

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