Men's Tennis: 1971-77
|Hall of Fame:|
Class of 2010
Alexander "Lex" Wood began the UCF men's tennis program in 1970 and would serve as the Knights' head coach for six seasons through his athletics retirement following the 1977 dual match season. The first two seasons of his tenure the Knights competed at the club level, compiling a 24-10 combined record from 1972-73.
The momentum Wood garnered those first two initial seasons on campus led to the approval of his fledgling tennis program to join NCAA Division II competition beginning in 1974. From that point forward, the men's tennis team never looked back and instantly became a Top 20 squad at that level until the time it joined Division I in the early 1980's.
Under Wood, the men's tennis team went a combined 102-46, including an impressive 30-4 mark in 1977, his final campaign. His final season was highlighted by UCF claiming the inaugural Sunshine State Conference tennis championship, the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division II South Regional and a third place finish at the NCAA Division II National Championship tournament. Prior to 1977, the team finished 11th, 17th and 10th nationally from 1974-76, respectively. His 1977 championship squad featured All-Americans Toby Crabel and Doug Baxter, who both reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA singles competition.
After his coaching retirement, Wood would go on to serve a long tenure teaching in UCF's physical education department. Later, his daughter, Adrienne, would compete collegiately for the UCF women's tennis program.
Wood was an accomplished tennis player in his own right, starring at Florida State University, where he would become the first tennis player inducted into the Seminoles' Hall of Fame in 1982. He arrived at FSU in 1962, from his native South Africa and for three years played the number one singles and doubles positions for the Seminoles. In 1964, his singles' match record was 22-1 and his career mark was 51 victories in 54 singles matches. He defeated many great players over the course of his collegiate career including U.S. Davis Cup member Marty Riessen.
After his playing career ended, he became FSU's coach, leading the team from 1965-69. His last two teams went 19-3 and 23-5 in dual match play. An accomplished student, Wood received both his master's and doctoral degrees from FSU in education.