Tommy Buford

Tommy Buford

Tommy Buford

Class of 1996


Rhodes Athletics Hall of Fame, 1997

University of Memphis' M Club Hall of Fame, 2005

Southern Tennis Hall of Fame, 2016

Mississippi Tennis Hall of Fame, 2016




Tommy Buford began his distinguished tennis career at Rhodes College in 1953, winning the Tennessee Intercollegiate Championship in 1956 and 1957.  In 1962, Buford began playing USTA tournaments achieving a no. 1 doubles ranking and no. 9 singles ranking in the USTA Southern rankings. Buford’s wins include the Southern 35s singles and doubles, the 45s doubles and the 1979 Southern Senior Open along with nine state championships.  In 1981, Buford and his son Tiger won the USTA Father-Son Clay Court Doubles Championships. 

Buford’s coaching career begin in 1966 when he became head tennis coach at the University of Memphis leading the Tigers until 1998. He amassed 421 NCAA wins over his 32 seasons and guided the Tigers to five Metro Conference titles. 

In 1974, Buford began teaching at the Racquet Club of Memphis. During the 1980s, he served as the tournament director for the Kroger St. Jude Classic which raised over $2.6 million for St. Jude’s Hospital.  Buford also enjoyed a standout career as an official and referee working in the Southern Senior Championships for thirteen years. Buford served on numerous tennis association boards and committees. 

Tommy Buford died at 83 years of age on January 14, 2018.