May 22, 2007
USF tennis star Harry Likas, who won the 1948 NCAA singles championship and is a member of the University's Athletic Hall of Fame will be inducted into the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame on Wednesday, May 28th.
The induction will take place during the NCAA Championships at the University of Georgia in Athens.
"Harry Likas is a class act," said current USF men's tennis coach Peter Bartlett. "He put USF tennis on the map and helped build the program that won the national championship in 1949. We are proud to have him in the Hall."
"I am very honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," said Likas. "It is great for people to know that USF had a top, top program and remember what we accomplished. Winning the singles championship in 1948 was fantastic and this is the icing on the cake."
Likas was honored at the USF "Night of Champions Dinner" and was written up in the commemorative book, "Legends of the Hilltop."
His biography from that publication:
Prior to winning the 1948 NCAA Singles Championship, Harry Likas had established a successful track record in singles competition, especially on the West Coast. He had won the California State Junior, Pacific Coast Junior and the Western Junior titles. He also had advanced to the quarter-finals in the first post war match of the U.S. Open in Forest Hills in October 1946. Later that year, he was one of sixteen top tennis players in the U.S. invited to participate in the Sugar Bowl Invitational.
As the Dons opened their 1947 spring season, Likas was ranked number 15 in the U.S. He had already defeated many of the top players and was considered "an outstanding young player who will go far."
Seeded number one for USF, Likas handily defeated players from Santa Clara, St. Mary's, University of the Pacific and San Francisco State in both singles and doubles. At season-end, the Don netters boasted an outstanding record, sweeping all Bay Area competition en route to winning the Northern California Collegiate crown.
In his last year for the Dons, Likas-with one exception-won every match he played, including the Northern California Invitational where his deadly backhand defeated Don teammate Conway Catton (6-1, 6-4). Likas and Harry Roche teamed to win their doubles match as the Dons won the team title and were presented with the William Johnson Memorial Trophy.
The following month, Likas bested Catton to win the Ojai Invitational. The headline in the Foghorn read, "Likas Rammycackles All Comers in Ojai Invitational." Likas then went on to capture the 1948 NCAA Singles Championship. Seeded number five, he awed the three top players, finally upsetting top seed Victor Seixas of North Carolina in a hard fought 6-4, 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 match to take the title.
Harry Likas continued on the tennis circuit outpacing five Wimbledon Champions in sectional play before joining the corporate world in 1949.
He attended Lowell High School before coming to the Hilltop.