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Retired coach publishes book on tennis

Tom Parham, a distinguished former Elon coach and professor, authored “The Little Green Book of Tennis” to share winning techniques learned from mentors and observations from his own five decades helping others enjoy the sport.

Tom Parham

A new book by a retired Elon University tennis coach features lessons proffered by some of the game’s most successful names over the past century.

“The Little Green Book of Tennis” by Tom Parham shares winning techniques espoused by legendary American tennis coaches including the late Jim Leighton of Wake Forest University and Jim Verdieck of Redlands University in California.

The book was inspired by the 1992 bestselling book “Harvey Penick's Little Red Book” from one of golf’s most prolific players and coaches. Parham wants his latest work to do for tennis what Penick’s book accomplished for golf.

“What struck me was the language he used, and the method he used, which was clear, concise, time-honored, workable ideas,” said Parham, who coached tennis across five decades. “I’ve started getting bigger organizations saying my book is a very good book for high school coaches, players, teachers and teams. They’re recommending that schools adopt it as an aid for coaches.”

The lifelong North Carolinian retired from coaching in 2004, the same year he was awarded the Elon Medallion, the university’s highest honor. As a college tennis coach, Parham amassed a lifetime record of 597 wins and 195 losses and has been inducted into 10 athletic halls of fame. His teams from two different schools collectively won three national championships, and he was selected National Tennis Coach of the Year four times.

“What I did was write it down,” Parham said of the techniques he describes in his book. “I’ve taken the same kind of lessons from master teachers, and all the matches and players that I’ve watched in my career, and I’ve put it in Harvey’s form.”

While at Elon, Parham held the titles of associate professor in health and physical education (1985-2004), assistant director of athletics (1986-1991), associate director of athletics (1991-99) and director of tennis operations (1999-2004).

Parham also served as an athletic director at Atlantic Christian College, now Barton College in Wilson, North Carolina. He received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 1979 and today resides with his wife, Margaret, in Emerald Isle, North Carolina.

“The Little Green Book of Tennis” is Parham’s second book. He published a memoir, “Play is Where Life Is,” in 2008.

“Tom Parham is my friend, my coach at Elon University, and a longtime advisor,” Roland Thornqvist, the head women's tennis coach at the University of Florida, said in his endorsement of the book. “He understood both the game, the team and me. He is a very well respected professional with success at coaching and teaching at any level. He is a master teacher and looked at as an integral part of tennis history in North Carolina, the South and the nation. 

“’The Little Green Book of Tennis is ‘spot on’ in method and message for coaches, players and teams at all levels.” 

For more information on the book, including ways to order it in print or for e-readers, visit https://tomparham.wordpress.com/ or email Parham at ethomasparham@gmail.com. 


Eric Townsend,
7/1/2015 9:30 AM