Coach Pernilla Hardin inducted into Georgia Collegiate Hall of Fame


Coach Pernilla Hardin

Pernilla Hardin, Oxford College men's and women's tennis head coach, is the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) Athletic Hall of Fame’s newest member, inducted during a recent virtual ceremony.

“What Coach Hardin has accomplished is legendary and I am honored that she has been inducted into both the NJCAA and the GCAA Tennis Halls of Fame. Winning 10 straight national championships is not an easy feat on any level,” says Oxford College Athletic Director Roderick Stubbs. “She is first and foremost an amazing person, with so much passion for life and the game of tennis. She is admired by her friends, co-workers, peers and players. This recognition is well deserved.”  

David Elder, GCAA commissioner, presented Hardin with the honor and a commemorative plaque during the ceremony on August 28, at which more than 70 attendees congratulated her on receiving this recognition. Elder noted her remarkable impact on her peers and the collegiate tennis community, as evidenced by the number of times she has been selected as Coach of the Tournament at the Division III national championships.

A recording of the presentation ceremony is available to view, and it features comments by Elder, Stubbs, Hardin, her coaches from her undergraduate tennis team, Oxford faculty, and many community and collegiate players she has coached throughout her career. 
 

Coach Pernilla Hardin with members of Oxford's tennis team

Since joining Oxford College in 2014 as the men’s and women’s tennis head coach and instructor in the Center for Healthful Living, Hardin has proven to be a force on and off the courts. Her players have consistently earned all-academic team and individual awards, and she has guided both the men's and women's teams to five consecutive national championships from 2015 to 2019. She was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Tennis Hall of Fame in May 2020 and named NJCAA Coach of the Year nine times. 
 
The Oxford community – faculty, staff, tennis team members, and students – celebrated Hardin throughout 2020. In April, the 2020 Oxford Class Gift Committee selected the Oxford Chaplaincy Emergency Fund as the recipient of its 2020 gift, and committee members decided to make their gift to the fund in honor of Hardin. The athletic department announced that the Most Outstanding Male Athlete award, a prestigious award presented annually at the athletic awards ceremony, is now named in honor of Coach Hardin. Coordinators of the college’s participation in this year’s annual Winship Win the Race 5K chose to call this year’s participants Team Hardin. Runners, walkers, and donors will celebrate Hardin with their efforts to raise funds for the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

Hardin is a treasured member of the Oxford community, and her contagious smile and encouraging words shouted across the tennis courts will be a large part of her coaching legacy at Oxford College, along with the resurfaced untraditional blue tennis courts of course.

“Coach Pernilla was more than a coach for every student who came into her path. She challenges you in ways you never could have imagined and makes you understand that being a great athlete and being a great person go hand in hand,” says Vignesh Sundaram, a player on the men’s tennis team from 2014 to 2016. “Under her leadership, I conquered many battles on and off the court. I am forever grateful to say that I was coached by Pernilla Hardin.”

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