Plans began to build a facility honoring him soon after his death in 2003.
“Anyone who ever leaned tennis in Crowley either learned it from my father or someone my father taught,” said Judge John Trahan Wednesday afternoon. “He took up the sport somewhat later in life and eventually became ranked on the senior tour.”
Little did he realize that a sport he fell in love with after reading a book would result in the very impressive Glady Trahan Tennis Centre which held it’s ribbon cutting before a crowd of approximately 200 people, including the entire Trahan family including the family matriarch Mary Trahan - impressive considering they had nine children - and several local, state and federal dignitaries, most notably former U.S. Senator John Breaux and former top ten player Chanda Rubin.
“In the world of tennis, Glady Trahan is known as a giant,” said Terese Reggie. “This tennis centre named for him is a fitting honor to his legacy and a permanent gift to the citizens of Crowley who will honor his commitment every time they use the facility.”
The GTTC was made possible by generous donations from individuals, companies and foundations in Crowley and the surrounding area, as well as a grant from the USTA. A committee was formed, chaired by Reggie, which solicited donations,and the community responded. Over $450,000 in private donations was raised and the Crowley’s Recreation Director Tim Robichaux, has long promoted the idea of a tennis complex on the grounds of the recreation department. In particular, Tim was singularly responsible for obtaining the USTA grant.
“I appreciate the unbelievable generosity of all the donors that made this project possible. The GTTC is a great addition to our recreation department and to the community. We now will be implementing numerous programs to further develop the sport of tennis for our youth and adult players,” said Tim Robichaux.
The day began with a free clinic for children ages 5-12, conducted by Phil Trahan, who is a USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association) professional, along with Rubin and others. The kids were introduced to QuickStart Tennis, a teaching format which utilizes a smaller court and scaled down rackets and nets. QuickStart allows very young children to achieve immediate success on the tennis court.
Following the clinic, the dedication ceremony began, emceed by one of Glady’s sons Pat Trahan. Ted Carmichael delivered a touching invocation which included a moment of silence for Peter Trahan, one of Glady and Mary’s sons who passed away in 2008. The crowd then heard welcoming remarks from Mayor Greg Jones and International Rice Festival President Brady Williams.
“I was worried about the turnout here with Rice Festival going on, but after thinking about it there are probably enough Trahan’s here alone to fill the stands,” said Mayor Jones to the laughter of those in attendance.
U.S. Congressman Charles Boustany, R-La., and former Senator John Breaux each spoke about his relationship with Dad which was developed through tennis. Senator Breaux learned to play on the crude asphalt courts of Hoffpauir Park across the street from Glady’s house. He became a very accomplished player and played on the tennis team at USL. He has continued to play at a high level, even after recent knee replacement surgery.
Congressman Boustany and the Trahan family grew up in tennis together and have maintained lifelong relationships which began in junior tennis.
Of course, the highlight of the event was the exhibition mixed doubles match between former Senator Breaux and Chanda Rubin against Kathrin Keil-Sieberth and Phil Trahan. Chanda Rubin was a longtime fixture on the women’s professional tour. She also had a very successful junior career, including two national championships, and culminating in her winning the girls’ singles championship at Wimbledon. On the women’s tour, she won seven WTA singles titles and has been ranked as high as number six in the world and she was a member of the 1996 and 2004 U.S. Olympic teams. She reached the fourth round or better in each of tennis’ major tournaments, the Australian, French and U.S. Open tournaments and the Wimbledon championships.
Though Rubin and Breaux were the most well-known of the players the other two were very accomplished.
- Kathrin Keil-Sieberth who had a distinguished junior career, attaining a #5 world ranking. She played collegiately at UCLA, leading her team to a national championship. On the women’s tour, she competed in all of the major tournaments and was ranked as high as #55 in the world.
- Phil Trahan (another of Glady’s sons) who played college tennis at Northeast Louisiana University (now ULM), where he established a school record of 158 victories, 77 in singles and 81 in doubles. In 1989, he was inducted into the university’s athletic Hall of Fame.
“It is really gratifying to see such emotion and support from those who were positively influenced by Dad,” said Phil Trahan. “They’re here today not only because of his devotion to tennis, but also his insistence on excellence and integrity in all areas.”
Representatives of the United States Tennis Association, who were also on hand, were similarly impressed.
“The opening of the Glady Trahan Tennis Centre was a beautiful and well organized event which speaks volumes for the city of Crowley, the Trahan family and the sport of tennis,” said Bill Phillips.