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Induction Speech for Susie Keane
Hilary Hilton Marold
March 7, 2014
The second deserving inductee I recognize tonight was born on June 28, 1964 in Grosse Point Shores, Michigan into a family proud of their Italian and Hungarian heritage. The youngest of four children, one boy and three girls, raised to be prideful, but not boastful, Susie Macarin Keane had a strong mentor for her early athletic accomplishments in the bigger than life example set by her father, Dr. Telesforo Mascarin.
Hilary Hilton Marold
To understand Susie’s drive to succeed, her dedication to excellence, and the ease with which she seems to accomplish all this, a clearer picture must be presented of her father. Born in Montreal, “Telly”, as he was affectionately called, was a self made man, nose to the grindstone kind of guy. He was bright, athletic, and a born leader. He came down from Canada to attend the University of Michigan on a full athletic scholarship for hockey. His position was right wing on a team that won three consecutive NCAA national championships between 1951-1953. He went on to medical school and became a respected obstetrics/gynecological MD. He delivered babies up until he retired from medicine at 75 years of age in 2008. Dr. Mascarin coached traveling hockey teams throughout the years, organized and built the Grosse Pointe Community Skating Rink and the Wimbledon Racquet Club. He taught life skills as they pertained to athletics. Honesty, hard work, a “never die” attitude, all were tenets to cherish if success was to be achieved. Not only did his hockey players reap the benefits of this wisdom, but it was not lost on his four children either.
Susie started out very young trying to be the best she could be at whatever she was doing. To win her first professional singles title and to qualify for the US Open in tennis at only 14 years old is a good example of her love of competition, her maturity, perseverance, and solid work ethic. She excelled at tennis and was a good student at University Liggett, a private school in Grosse Pointe.
At 16 years of age she became the U.S. Open Girls’ Singles Champion and the ITF World Junior Champion, 1980. At 20 years old she got to the quarters of the U.S. Open, 1984. She went on to compete at Wimbledon three times (’81,’85, ’86), the Australian Open twice (’82, ’88), the French Open in 1985 where she reached the third round and played the U.S. Open a total of 10 times. Her highest ranking in singles was #32 in the world on April 28,1986. She was 22 years old. She also played a lot of tour doubles with Betsy Nagelsen. Susie’s highest world ranking in doubles was #49 on March 15, 1987. Some of her opponents at the time were Chris Evert, Gabriela Sabatini, Steffi Graf, and Andrea Yeager, to name just a few. She played World Team Tennis for the Miami Breakers in 1986 under a coach very different from her dad, Ilie Nastase and for the South Florida Breakers in 1988.
In the fall of ‘88 Susie moved to Los Angeles where she became the assistant women’s tennis coach at UCLA while at the same time earning her degree in communications. At the end of ‘88 Susie retired from professional tennis competition. Peter Keane, also from the Grosse Pointe area, her future husband, was also in L.A. at this time, conveniently. Susie and Peter married September 1, 1990. She graduated from UCLA in 1992. They moved back to Grosse Pointe, Michigan and raised three children, Matthew, now 20, Charlie, now 18, and Samantha, now 15. Both boys attend the University of Michigan like their grandpa before them.
The family fatefully moved in 2002 to Lake Forest, Illinois. This is where Susie Keane’s platform tennis roots took hold. She started playing platform tennis with lots of new found friends, even played the Illinois State tournament. She enjoyed the competition and began transferring the same mental fortitude and passion to succeed from her pro tennis days to her new found sport of platform tennis. It didn’t take Susie long.
The 2003 APTA Nationals was approaching. Mary Doten was lined up to play with Julia Sierks, but at the last minute Julia had a family emergency arise. The rest is history. At least, APTA history. Mary convinced Susie to fill in for Julia. Mary told Susie, “Come on. We’ll just do it for the experience.” The first time pairing of Doten-Keane, unseeded in the tournament, swept through the draw, beating seed after seed until, indeed, the 2003APTA National Women’s Doubles Championship trophy was theirs.
After Susie won her first nationals, there was no resting of her laurels. She worked even harder on her game, training, hitting repetition drills with other players and tennis pro, Ray J. Murphy at Lake Bluff Bath and Tennis Club on the North Shore of Chicago. Susie Keane is no doubt the most accomplished female professional tennis player to have ever won an APTA National Championship. All of her training in the off season paid off as Doten-Keane successfully defended their national title with a win in 2004, no less beating 8 time national champs Sue Aery and Gerri Viant in the finals. In fact from 2003-until 2010 Susie Keane and Mary Doten dominated the game of platform tennis, winning 6 APTA Women’s Doubles Championships: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010. During the 2008-2009 season, Susie and Mary won every tournament they entered.
After her 2010 win, Susie retired from competitive platform tennis. She and her family now live in Orlando, Florida. Guess what? Susie Keane is also a great golfer. She was just honored by winning the Arnold Palmer Cup at the Bay Hill Golf Club where she is a member. Her handicap has been as low as “4”. Whatever Susie Keane next tackles, it is safe to say, we are sure to find her right up there with the best and brightest.
She is surely the definition of a “champion”. Platform tennis is better off for having Susie Keane a part of it’s history. And now, she is the recipient of the APTA’s highest honor, the PLATFORM TENNIS HALL OF FAME award to Susan Mascarin Keane.