Mercer County Tennis Council

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2008 Inductee Jay Lapidus

December 10, 2007 05:46 PM

Jay Lapidus’ Mercer County tennis connections go back to his youth. He grew up in Princeton and started taking tennis lessons at the age of nine from Bill Stoner at the Mercer County Indoor Tennis Center. Stoner remembers Jay as the “best nine-year-old pupil I ever had” and commented that even at that young age, Jay was able to learn a slice serve, a skill usually reserved for older boys. The late Cephas Monnett, a well known tennis instructor, continued to hone Jay’s skills. Jay excelled at The Lawrenceville School as national interscholastic singles champion, winning four state prep titles. By the time Jay came under the coaching of David Benjamin at Princeton University in the fall of 1977, his tennis career was ready to take off. 

While at Princeton, Jay captained the men’s tennis team and achieved several national rankings, including the #1 collegiate ranking in his junior year and a #1 USTA ranking in the 21-and-under singles division in 1980.  Jay was also designated an All-American three times and was selected for both the U.S. Junior Davis Cup Team and in 1980 for the U.S. Davis Cup team.

Following his graduation from Princeton in 1981, Jay played the ATP tour, reaching a singles ranking high of 34 in the ATP and 29 in World Championship Tennis.  His most memorable matches included wins over Jimmy Arias at Wimbledon, Vitas Gerulaitis in Houston, and José Luis Clerc in Hartford. All of these were victories over top 10 players. 
In 1984, Jay reached the round of 32 at the U.S. Open, and in 1985 reached the round of 16 at the Australian Open and the round of 32 at Wimbledon. 

Jay undertook his first collegiate coaching job in 1987 as an assistant coach at the University of South Carolina, from which he also achieved a Master’s degree in education. For the past twenty years, he has been the head men’s tennis coach at Duke University, achieving an overall coaching record of 362-113.  From 1996 to 2004, Jay coached the Blue Devils to an unprecedented 58-match winning streak in ACC regular season play, including seven consecutive perfect 8-0 seasons against conference foes.   Jay is a six-time ACC Coach of the year and five-time ITA Region Coach of the Year.  Due to Jay’s efforts, Duke has won 15 more NCAA Tournament matches than any other ACC school and has been to the Elite Eight six times. Jay’s team players have represented the University well, earning such awards as ITA National Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship and Leadership Award and the USTA Sportsmanship Award. 

Jay is married to former Princeton University tennis player Pia Tamayo; they have one son, Jason.  


Date of Birth:  May 1, 1959, Princeton, New Jersey

1977 National Interscholastic Champion, Lawrenceville School
1980 U.S. #1 Collegiate tennis player
1978-80 -  Selected All-American
1980 - Member, U.S. Davis Cup Team
1981 - National #1 21-and-under singles
1981-88 - Played ATP tour, reaching world ranking of #34 (ATP), #29 (WCT)
1984 - Reached round of 32 at U.S. Open
1985 - Reached round of 16 at Australian Open and round of 32 at Wimbledon
1988-present - Head men’s tennis coach, Duke University
1996-2004 - Coached Blue Devils to unprecedented 58-match winning streak in ACC regular season

1991, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2003 ACC Coach of the Year
1995, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2006  ITA Region II Coach of the Year