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Bill Clayton Bio

Hitting tennis balls with "picture ground strokes" or promoting the game of tennis this best describes the sporting life of Sioux Falls attorney Bill Clayton. Whether it was winning championships himself or drilling others with on-court instruction, Bill was in the thick of things centered around McKennan Park starting in 1951, after law school at the University of South Dakota.

A 1941 graduate of Santa Monica, Ca. High School, Bill earned a tennis scholarship to Washington and Lee University in Virginia. There he competed for Coach Fred Perry, world-class player and former Wimbledon champion.

He stepped forward to give early leadership as president of the Sioux Falls Tennis Club, the state tennis association and was elected regional vice president of the Northwestern Tennis Association in 1953. His citizen involvement with the city led to reconstruction work at McKennan Courts and the memorable 25-cent lighting (for 30 minutes of play) at McKennan in 1954.

He won a city singles title before winning countless doubles championships around the area with such players as Don Grebin, Gordon Bell and Warren Opheim and with Grebin instructed many free tennis clinics.

Starting in 1954, through 1962, Bill earned doubles rankings by the NWTA and was active as a player and official during the hey-day of the Winter Invitational at Westward Ho Racquet Club in the 60s.

Bill and wife Sally, with their home by McKennan Park, raised five terrific tennis-playing children sons Billy, Tom and Bob and daughters Stuart and Kristin. Said Bill, "We loved the challenge of competition and the interaction of those who contributed interest, funds and efforts to further tennis which led to lifelong friendships. Tennis people have a special bond or respect that is the very best."