A varsity tennis star as an undergraduate, Cary Leeds went on to become a world-ranked professional and a coach for gifted youngsters before unexpectedly dying in 2003.
"Cary loved teaching young players. He gave of himself. It is this extension of Cary's spirit that we want to continue at Yale, so that his college tennis experience has meaning and value to future generations of Yale players and to the university he loved so much," says Larry Leeds, chair of Buckingham Capital Management, a division of the Buckingham Research Group in Manhattan.
"Larry Leeds' generous endowment is a lasting tribute to Cary," says President Richard C. Levin. "This named coaching position will help the University to secure the highest caliber coaches for our tennis program, now and in the years ahead."
Cary Leeds began playing tennis at the age of 9 while growing up in New York City. By the time he was a student at the Collegiate School, he was ranked number one in the East in the 16- and 18-year-old age groups. At Yale, he played number one singles and doubles, winning the ITCA National Doubles Indoor Collegiate Championship with Matt Doyle in 1977.
"I remember how excited Cary was when he was accepted by Yale to be a member of the Class of 1979. He loved Yale, and the friendships he built there lasted throughout his life," says Leeds, who frequently attended his son's matches with his wife, Dalia. "He loved playing on the varsity team, being named All-Ivy, going to the NCAA's and the Prentice Cup."
After graduating from Yale with a bachelor's degree in economics and political science, Cary Leeds went on to compete in the World Professional Tennis Circuit for six years, qualifying twice for the main draw in the U.S. Open and proceeding to the second round. Altogether, he competed in six U.S. Opens and five Wimbledon tournaments, where in 1981 he reached the semi-finals in mixed doubles. For several years, he paired with Eric Fromm in doubles. At their peak, they achieved a world ranking of 12.
Cary Leeds retired from professional tennis in the mid-1980s and then attended the Wharton School of Business. Subsequently, he co-founded InterWorld, a New York-based company that offered software for conducting business transactions via the Internet. At the same time, he began teaching tennis to up-and-coming young players -- many of whom are competing professionally today. It was a passion that endured for the rest of his life. In 2003, his book on the mechanics of athleticism, "The Unified Theory of Sports," was published posthumously.
"We are pleased that Cary's name will forever be linked with our tennis program," says Tom Beckett, director of Yale Athletics. "The support provided by the Leeds endowment will continually encourage our tennis coaches and players in their ongoing pursuit of excellence."
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