Tennis Greats Tom and Tim Gullikson Honored by NIU Alumni Association

GO HUSKIES Tom (left) and Tim Gullikson are the most decorated men's tennis players in Northern Illinois history.
Tom (left) and Tim Gullikson are the most decorated men's tennis players in Northern Illinois history.

April 19, 2010

DeKalb, Ill. - Former professional tennis standouts and Northern Illinois Athletics Hall of Famers Tom Gullikson (1974), and the late Tim Gullikson (1974) have been awarded the NIU Outstanding Alumni Award for the College of Education, the NIU Alumni Association announced Friday.

Every year the Northern Illinois University Alumni Association recognizes the achievements of outstanding alumni through the Distinguished Alumni Award, the F.R. Geigle Service Award, the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, and the Outstanding Alumni Award for each of the seven academic colleges at NIU. Recipients are selected based on outstanding professional and personal successes, as well as involvement in civic, cultural, or charitable activities.

The NIU Alumni Association will honor Tom and Tim Gullikson, along with the remainder of the 2010 alumni award winners at a private reception at the Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center in DeKalb on Thursday, April 29.

Tom Gullikson played professional tennis on the ATP Tour from 1976 to 1986 and won 16 top-level double titles throughout his playing career, 10 of them with his identical twin brother, Tim. The duo reached the Wimbledon Men's Doubles Final in 1983. In singles, Tom advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in 1982 and reached a career-best ranking of 38th that year. After moving into coaching following his playing career, and tutoring some of the top names in the game, Tom was selected as the 36th United States Davis Cup Captain in October of 1993 - a post he held for six years. During his Davis Cup tenure, he managed many of the game's most-talented and high profile professionals. In 1996, Tom's coaching career reached another pinnacle when he was chosen to serve as the U.S. Men's Olympic Coach.

Tim's professional tennis career highlights included being named the pro circuit's Newcomer of the Year in 1977, and advancing to the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 1979. Tim reached a career-best ranking of 18th in the world in 1978, and he won four singles and 16 career doubles titles. In 1986, he put his racket aside and moved into a new role as a coach for leading American tennis players, including Aaron Krickstein, Mary Jo Fernandez, and Pete Sampras.

The Gulliksons rank as two of the top tennis student-athletes in Northern Illinois history as each played in four NCAA Championships (1970-73) as Huskies. Tom Gullikson posted a 72-20 career singles record as NIU's No. 1 player for four straight years and went 81-13 in doubles. He was named a first team All-American by the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Association in 1972. Tim's 75 career singles victories as NIU's No. 2 singles player still rank in the Huskie record books. The two helped Northern Illinois to its best dual match record (18-3 in 1970) in school history and to a 46-25 mark during their careers. At the 1972 NCAA Championships, they combined for four points to earn Northern Illinois a 24th-place finish. The Onalaska, Wis. natives were inducted into the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984.

In 1995, Tim was diagnosed with brain tumors during the Australian Open. As a well-respected coach in the tennis world, Tim recognized a need to assist brain tumor patients and their families in managing the physical, emotional, and social challenges of the illness. In order to fulfill that need, the brothers and their families founded the Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation in 1995. Tim, who made his home in Wheaton, Ill., lost his battle to brain cancer in 1996, but his vision for the Tim & Tom Gullikson Foundation has flourished over the years, touching lives of brain tumor patients and their families.

Recently, Tim's widow, Rosemary, established the Tim Gullikson Education scholarship at Northern Illinois University. The scholarship is intended to help NIU students who are studying to be high school teachers and who have a desire to coach young athletes.

Other 2010 NIU Alumni Award Recipients include:
• Cherilyn G. Murer, Distinguished Alumni Award
• Barbara Cole Peters, F.R. Geigle Service Award
• Ryan J. Hayman, Outstanding Young Alumni Award
• Sheila G. Talton, College of Business Outstanding Alumni Award
• Joseph L. Bittorf, College of Engineering and Engineering Technology Outstanding Alumni Award
• Monique C. Ryan, College of Health and Human Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award
• Vincent F. Cornelius, College of Law Outstanding Alumni Award
• Leonard M. Lieberman, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award
• Kristina A. Valaitis, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award
• Ronald Keller, College of Visual and Performing Arts Outstanding Alumni Awards

-- NIU --

For more information, contact: Brad Hoey, NIU Media Relations and Internal Communications 815-753-6667; Linda Alberty, NIU Alumni Association 815-752-6064.



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