Massengill is regarded as one of the top tennis players in UTC history. From 1983 through 1986, she helped the Lady Mocs to three NCAA Division II national titles and she was named an All-American in 1984 and 1985.
“I guess this means I’m old because it’s been a long time,” she said with a laugh. “No, it really is an honor. I was really surprised when I found out. It’s an honor for my community and my family.”
Born and raised in East Ridge, Massengill played basketball, volleyball, and tennis for the East Ridge High School Lady Pioneers, but opted for tennis in college, signing to play at UTC for then-head coach Tommy Bartlett.
“At the time, women didn’t have a whole lot options,” she explained, “so I wanted something I might be able to use as a career after college.”
Massengill never lost a Southern Conference post-season tournament match in singles or doubles, winning six conference titles once the Lady Mocs started Southern Conference tennis play in 1984.
She hit the winning point in the final doubles match to give UTC its first national title.
“Even today, I still get goose bumps when I think about putting that ball away,” she said. “We didn’t play a wimpy schedule, even though it was (NCAA) Division II. We actually played against SEC teams and even teams like Notre Dame. They used to play Division II (in women’s tennis) back then too, and we beat them all pretty good.”
In 1986, she was the No. 1-ranked women’s tennis player in the state of Tennessee, and won the Tennessee State Open in singles and doubles that year.
After college, she worked in the tennis industry in Hilton Head, S.C. before returning to the area. She was named to the Southern Conference’s All-Decade Tennis Team for the 1980’s, and was inducted into the UTC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
“We had a very good team back then,” she added. “I had some good teammates and a great coach, so I guess I’m reaping the benefits of all of that after 30 years.”
The Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame will hold it annual banquet at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 25 at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Tickets cost $35 and must be bought by Feb. 15 from organization president Dr. John Farr at (423) 875-9282.