Fern Lee "Peachy" Kellmeyer
- February 19, 1944
- Place of Birth:
- Wheeling, West Virginia
- United States
- Induction Category:
- Year of Induction:
In 1973, Peachy Kellmeyer from Wheeling, WV, was hired as the very first employee of the WTA, and for more than 35 years she has played a critical role in the development of women’s tennis around the world. Over the years, she has led WTA operations, player and tournament relations and has been at the center of all major policy decisions. Today she serves as Executive Consultant of Tour Operations for the WTA and oversees the alumnae program for WTA players and administrators, and she is a member of the ITF Fed Cup Committee.
Kellmeyer’s love for the game began during childhood, when she was winning titles at age 11. In 1959, at age 15, she became the youngest woman at the time to compete at the U.S. Nationals. She went on to be a tennis star at the University of Miami (FL), where she became the first woman to compete on a Division I men’s team. As an adult, Kellmeyer was ranked nationally in both singles and doubles, and was a competitor at Wimbledon and the US Open.
In 1966, while serving as Physical Education Director at Marymount College in Boca Raton, FL, Kellmeyer spearheaded a lawsuit that ultimately led to the dismantling of an Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women rule that had prohibited athletic scholarships from being awarded to female athletes at colleges across the nation. The landmark case paved the way for Title IX and contributed greatly to the increase of female athletes in intercollegiate athletics.
During Kellmeyer’s tenure, prize money on the WTA Tour has increased from $309,000 in 1973 to more than $87,000,000 in 2011, and the number of WTA events has increased from 23 domestic tournaments to 53 events in 33 different countries, attracting more than 5 million in-stadium fans annually. She has truly been the behind-the-scenes foundation, soul, and conscience of the Women’s Tennis Association, elevating the pro game from its humble beginnings to the high profile global sport we know and love today.