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Rick & Bob - Hall of Fame 2008


Bob Keaunui and Rick Fried

2008 Tennis Hall of Fame Inductees

 ROBERT KEAUNUI, SR., 2008 Non-Player Recepient

Coach BobThis year’s Tennis Hall of Fame Non-Player recipient, Robert Keaunui Sr., who most everyone knows as "Coach Bob" is responsible for kick-starting the tennis careers of several Hawai'i tennis players. He has given Hawaii 33 years of outstanding community service through teaching and organizing team tennis for hundreds of youth and adults.
Bob grew up watching Shigesh Wakida work wonders for tennis kids in Lahaina, and after retiring from the Army in 1975, Bob began offering free tennis lessons to kids at Kailua District Park. Many kids gravitated to Bob’s generosity and his love for the game became contagious. With so many kids, Bob fine-tuned Shigesh Wakida's magical way of keeping a big group moving in a small space.

In a short time Bob expanded is tennis lesson program and became a mainstay figure on the Windward side. His pioneering efforts in Kaneohe, Waiminalo, Kahalu’u and Hau’ula communities have brought tennis to hundreds of children and remain strong today.

Bob is responsible for establishing Hawaii’s first National Junior Tennis League program that provided free to affordable lessons to hundreds of families. These days, his fees are nominal but Bob’s basic kindness makes him an easy mark for any kid who can't cover the cost, doesn't have a racket, tournament and league fees or a ride home.

Bob's MobHis teams are famously known as "Bob's Mob" and in addition to Junior Team Tennis and local tournaments, his kids actively play in high school – many of whom have participated in Hawaii State High School Championships – and eventually grow up to play at the college level and dominate leagues.

Bob is a coach, as well as a coach's coach and his tennis programs have rallied families to get involved with countless volunteer coaching opportunities.

His work has also inspired adults to also pick up a racket and enjoy the sport. Bob has been head coach of "Bob's Angels" for nearly 20 years promoting league play for adults.

Bob now works with kids of his former kids. He has earned respect because he demonstrates respect, regardless of age, level of play, so-called status or reputation.

Bob is currently a board member of Oahu District Tennis Association, Co-Chairman of the National Junior Tennis League founded by Arthur Ashe and served as a referee for countless tennis tournaments for over 20 years.

Bob is loved by all as a teacher, mentor, leader, advisor and friend.

Bob with Kids


RICHARD FRIED, 2008 Player Recipient

Most of us are familiar with this year’s Tennis Hall of Fame Player recipient Rick on MIdWeek coverfor his ferocious defense on two kinds of courts. When Honolulu attorney Rick Fried is not fighting for justice in the courtroom, he can be found battling it out on the tennis court. Either way, his negotiations are tough and victory is usually the outcome.

Rick Fried got hooked on tennis the moment he whiffed on his first overhead at age 10, fell into the net and broke it. His passion for the game grew immensely through a successful tennis career that saw him highly ranked in his age group growing up in Arizona.

rick in action 2One of Rick’s collegiate highlights was as team captain of his 1963 University of Arizona men’s team against UCLA, where he played Arthur Ashe and lost in two deuce-sets. Even with a promising tennis career ahead, it was clear to Rick that he would make a better living going law school.

After getting drafted, Rick was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base and his chance meeting with Judge Alan Kay, an avid tennis player, in 1968 kept him in Hawaii. Rick’s tennis game remained competitive while his professional career took off as a lawyer specializing in personal injury litigation. He quickly distinguished himself by finding more ways to win in both tennis and the court of law.

Through his competitive spirit and passion, Rick has won four Kailua Racquet Club Night Doubles titles and been ranked among the top 10 in Open Singles and No. 1 in his age group every year he was eligible. He has hit with Billie Jean King – beating her more than he lost – Rod Laver and Pancho Gonzalez.

Rick in actionThroughout the years, Rick has acquired several gold, silver and bronze tennis balls due to his triumphs at National Age-Group championships. Most recently, Rick received an honorable invitation into the International Lawn Tennis Club of the United States and has since actively represented the United States at various Columbus Cup matches in places like South Africa, India and Australia.

When he sheds his lawyerly attire, Fried puts on his tennis clothes and hits the courts, sometimes even getting up bright and early to play. He continues to plays up to four times a week, usually with players much younger, but rarely better. He jokes that his success in his own age group "is largely a function of still being able to walk," but his game appears to be aging like fine wine.

Like his professional career Rick’s tennis game only seems to get better with time. But through all of Rick’s often comical conversations with himself on the tennis court one thing remains crystal clear: He loves the game, and only loves it more each match he plays.