GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman men's tennis coaching great Paul Scarpa was accorded "The Order Of The Palmetto" Friday evening at the Scarpa Grand Slam roast, held at Greenville Country Club.
Conferred by South Carolina governor Nikki Haley Haley, The Order of the Palmetto, the highest award the state can accord a citizen, was presented to Scarpa by former Speaker of the House and ambassador to Canada David Wilkins of Greenville.
Scarpa, a Charleston, S.C., native and the longest tenured coach in the Southern Conference in any sport, finished his career as the NCAA's all-time wins leader in men's tennis with 853 victories, 817 of which came at Furman. He captured 17 Southern Conference titles and was named the league's coach of the year nine times.
Scarpa, who also served as the head men's soccer coach at Furman from 1968-81, was inducted into Furman's Hall of Fame in 1994 then was enshrined into the USTA Southern Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006. He was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame and the prestigious Blue Gray Tennis Classic Hall of Fame in 2010 then into the Southern Conference Hall of Fame in 2012.
His contributions to the game are felt beyond the SoCon as he developed the current dual match scoring system adopted by the NCAA in 1993, the "3-6" format or "Scarpa System" specifying that all matches begin with doubles play featuring eight-game pro sets with all three doubles teams playing for one team doubles point. Scarpa also invented and patented the tape (Tenex) used to mark clay courts throughout the world.