Birmingham-Southern College names tennis complex to honor Ann Dielen

Birmingham-Southern College names tennis complex to honor Ann Dielen
(L to R): BSC Men's Tennis Coach Kel Lange, BSC Athletic Director Joe Dean, Jr., BSC President Gen. Charles C. Krulak, and BSC Women's Tennis Coach Ann Dielen (photo by BSC Office of Communications)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Birmingham-Southern College named its tennis complex the Ann Dielen Tennis Complex to honor its long-time tennis coach today.

The new sign denoting the complex's new name was unveiled today after a lunch and ceremony honoring Dielen and her contributions over nearly four decades with the college.

Dielen has been with the BSC tennis program since it was re-established in 1977; since then, she has guided the Panthers to unprecedented levels, including a record number of national championship appearances. She also serves as BSC's senior women's administrator.

"This is such an incredible honor," Dielen said. "To see my name on a facility that I've called home for so long is one of the highlights of my career. I'd like to say thank you to [current BSC President] General Charles Krulak, [current Athletic Director] Joe Dean, [former BSC President] Neal Berte, [former Athletic Director] Mike Robinson, [former BSC men's tennis coach] Brian Rahaley, and everyone else who has supported our program through the years. I look forward to many more matches on these courts!"

Under Dielen's direction, the women's team participated in the NAIA National Championships every year from the tournament's inception in 1980 until BSC's final NAIA membership season in 2001. No other program can boast this impressive feat. The men's team, which was under Dielen's guidance until she turned it over to former assistant Brian Rahaley, was equally successful, reaching the national tournament 19 of 24 seasons.

"Ann has been incredibly dedicated to Birmingham-Southern College over the past 37 years, and not only has been an outstanding tennis coach, but a wonderful role model for her student athletes," said Dean. "This is a very deserving tribute to her."

She has been past president of the National Tennis Association; was named NAIA District Coach of the Year seven times; was the ITA Women's Tennis Coach of the Year in 1992; and received the USTA Community Service Award in 1997. As of this Feb. 20, her women's coaching record from 1983 stands at 418-199 (.677). Her men's coaching record from 1984 to 2001 is 205-182 (.530).

Dielen has also played for the Alabama Senior Cup team and the Southern Senior Cup team, finishing first in national competition five straight seasons. She won six Doubles National Championships (1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997) with partner Ann Etheredge. They also won the National 40 Clay Court doubles title in 1996 and 1998.