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John Powless is shown at a Grandparents University event at the O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research and Education Facility. Photo contributed by Bruce Schweiger.

As reported by the Wisconsin State Journal, John Powless, a former UW–Madison men’s basketball and tennis coach who became one of the best senior tennis players in the world, died at his home Thursday morning after a long illness. He was 88 years old.

Powless was featured in a 2013 story in the State Journal about his training routine at UW–Madison’s O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research and Education Facility to train for playing on grass courts like Wimbledon — a very different experience than playing on clay courts. He was quoted of the O.J. Noer court, where he began playing in 1998,: “It’s one of the best-kept secrets in the world. Only a few places on the planet have this quality of grass.”

“He loved working with the kids [at Grandparents University] and they and their grandparents loved it just as much,” recalls O.J. Noer superintendent Bruce Schweiger. “He was always there whenever we asked him be part of any event — a great person to get to know and a true supporter of the Noer.”

In 2016 a Q&A with Powless was published in eCALS discussing “what it’s like to play on Wimbledon’s grass court.”

John Powless is shown at a Grandparents University event at the O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research and Education Facility. Photo contributed by Bruce Schweiger.