Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Former ASU tennis coach Dr. Anne Pittman passed away in late-November. Pittman, a pioneer who coached for 30 years (1954-1984), celebrated her 90th birthday in October.

Throughout her entire tenure as coach, Pittman never took a paycheck for her work. She still has the school’s best all-time winning percentage (.826); Her Sun Devils went 337-71.

Current ASU coach Sheila McInerney said Pittman was her mentor. The two met when McInerney became the Sun Devils’ coach 25 seasons ago. McInerney said her friend graciously showed her the ropes of running a major collegiate tennis program.

Q: What did Dr. Pittman do for the sport of tennis?

A: She was such an incredible person. But it really wasn’t just what she did for tennis but rather women’s sports in general. She was a pioneer is getting women’s sports recognition in a male-dominated department.

Q: What was Pittman like as a person?

A: She did everything. Not only was she a tennis coach but she also was a physical education teacher as well. She never took a paycheck for what she did with the tennis team, and she refused to retire from coaching the team until the University guaranteed her successor would be paid. That shows a lot about her character.

Q: What was she like as a teacher and coach?

A: She was great. Obviously times were different back then, but she wasn’t afraid to get on you and tell you what you were doing wrong. I heard a story about when she used to be a teacher for an outdoor camping class. A football player took the class to get an easy ‘A’ but didn’t realize Dr. Pittman wasn’t the easy teacher he thought [she was]. Evidently, on a hike she made him walk 13 miles back to the bus when he was doing something to screw around. And he walked every mile.

Q: What was your relationship like with Pittman?

A: My relationship with her is of mutual respect. I loved her so much as a person, and she was so smart. She was smart all the way up until the day she passed away. She never lost it. I have always showed her a tremendous amount of respect because I know what we have today is a direct result of what she did here at ASU.

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.