As an undergraduate, Scott Mead ’77 was a talented and versatile athlete for the Crimson, a letter-winner in both squash and lacrosse. He was also a gifted tennis player, but because tennis season overlapped with that of lacrosse, he chose to compete in the tennis tournament circuit during the summer.
Mead’s involvement with tennis, the sport that has come to define his commitment to athletics and physical fitness, continues to grow. In recent years, he has become more active — as a ranked player and as a current member of the Global Advisory Council of the WTA Tour, the global governing body of women’s professional tennis.
Mead’s passion for tennis and Harvard College has never been more evident than with the announcement of the Scott Mead ’77 Family Head Coach for Harvard Men’s Tennis. This gift, the latest in a series of Harvard athletics endowments, will endow the men’s tennis head coaching position and help fund the operation of one of the finest tennis programs in the nation.
“I am delighted and honored to endow the men’s tennis head coaching position,” Mead said. “Harvard has meant a great deal to me, and it continues to be a very important part of my life. I had an extraordinary academic and athletic experience, and I learned valuable lessons from some great coaches. In making this gift, I wanted to give back in a way that would be meaningful to me, to the University, and to future generations of Harvard scholar-athletes.”
Mead’s gift also highlights uniquely Harvard relationships —associations that often stretch across decades. Robert L. Scalise, Nichols Family Director of Athletics, coached Mead in lacrosse more than 30 years ago. On the squash court, Mead was mentored by the legendary Dave Fish ’72. Now entering his 33rd season as head tennis coach, Fish, who coached the men’s squash and tennis teams at the time, is the first Scott Mead ’77 Family Head Coach for Harvard Men’s Tennis.
“I was thrilled to hear that Scott Mead was going to endow the men’s tennis position,” said Fish. “Scott played on the first varsity squash team that I coached after taking over from Jack Barnaby. Scott was a first-class athlete and an even finer sportsman. I’m grateful on behalf of all of our current and former players that he has chosen to make this gift. I am, of course, personally delighted that Scott, whose name will be forever associated with this program, is someone I like and respect so much.”
Scalise stressed that athletics broadens the College experience and teaches student-athletes to strive for excellence throughout their lives. “When I think of Scott and his family, and our other dedicated alumni and friends, I think of ‘generosity,’ ‘loyalty,’ ‘commitment,’ and ‘passion.’ These are all qualities that we want our student-athletes to embody, and I am grateful to Scott for supporting these ideals with his extraordinary gift.”
The Mead gift is the fourth head coaching endowment in the past eight months. This latest endowment is certain to strengthen one of Harvard’s most successful programs. The Crimson is consistently among the top teams in the country. Since Fish’s arrival in 1976, his squads have reached the NCAA Championships 19 times, including 10 consecutive seasons from 1990 to 1999, and produced 14 All-Americans. The team has 12 total NCAA tournament wins during this period. In Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis Association (EITA)/Ivy League play, Harvard has won 7 of the last 9 EITA/Ivy titles, as well as 19 of the last 27 conference crowns.
Mead believes that supporting a great team and a great coach is an opportunity to encourage student athletic participation at all levels — varsity, club, and intramural. He encourages Harvard’s outreach efforts to bring the game to the broader community. For Mead, tennis has been a lifelong pursuit, instilling competitive and ethical values and an ability to “raise one’s game” to meet life’s challenges and opportunities. These lessons, imparted by outstanding coaches whom he holds in high regard, have profoundly influenced his life, personally and professionally. By endowing the men’s tennis head coaching position, he hopes to return the favor and enhance the Harvard experience of those touched by the game he loves.