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Stanley Drobac

tennis player

Nickname: Stan
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Bio While serving in the U.S. Army in Europe in 1946, he met Frank Beeman, who became MSU’s head tennis coach in 1948. Drobac represented the United States in international tennis competitions, including Wimbledon in 1946, where he teamed up with Beeman for doubles play.
As a Spartan student-athlete, Drobac captured the Big Ten singles title in 1953, after finishing runner-up in 1952. He also teamed up with Tom Belton to win the Big Ten doubles title in 1952 and 1953. In 1952, Drobac won both the Wisconsin State Open and Closed Single Championships, and he also competed in the National Singles Championships at Forest Hills, New York, for three years.
Drobac completed his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State in 1953 and became the tennis coach at East Lansing High School before becoming a physical education instructor at MSU in 1955. He earned his master’s degree from MSU in 1956 and served as an assistant coach under Beeman for two seasons (1956-57) before succeeding Beeman as head coach in 1958, when Beeman was promoted to men’s intramural director.
In 1961, Drobac, along with Jim Griswald and Bob Rood, invented the “Tenniscor,” a copyrighted blackboard scoreboard which aided spectators in following tennis matches. The scoreboards were used for several years at the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Championships.
In 1969, Drobac was appointed to the first NCAA Tennis Committee and served on it until 1974. He was an officer in the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Association for 14 years, serving as president from 1969-73. He also developed a scorebook that was used by the members of the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Association for more than two decades.
In 1973, Drobac inaugurated the National Intercollegiate Team Indoor Championships, which was held at the Nielson Tennis Stadium at the University of Wisconsin. This event was the forerunner to the team format now being used to determine the NCAA team champions.
Drobac was also instrumental in developing the first wheelchair tennis program at MSU.
Drobac, the longest tenured coach in program history, spent 32 seasons as head coach of the Spartan men’s tennis program from 1958-89. Throughout his coaching career, Drobac made a substantial impact on the Michigan State tennis program. He won 267 matches and led the Spartans to their second Big Ten Championship in 1967. His teams posted winning records 10 consecutive seasons from 1959-1968, including a 15-4 mark overall and a perfect 9-0 record in conference play in 1967. The Spartans also finished second in the Big Ten in 1961, 1966 and 1968 and third in 1960 and 1962.
Under Drobac, 10 Spartans claimed individual conference singles titles, along with four conference doubles titles, and his players earned first-team All-Big Ten accolades on seven occasions.
In addition to his work as Spartan head coach, Drobac was a leader and innovator who helped shape the intercollegiate tennis team championship. He was inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 1990.
Drobac was named the Most Valuable Player of the MSU Tennis All-Century Team in 2013, and the annual MSU men’s tennis MVP award is named in his honor.
“Stan was a legendary college coach who loved his Spartans, but his legacy will be remembered as a teacher, mentor, and inspirer who made a difference in everyone he met,” said MSU men’s tennis coach Gene Orlando.
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