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Press Releases

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Purnell-Thomas Memorial Tennis Tournament Set at SU August 19-23

Nathan ThompsonSALISBURY, MD---Professional-level tennis returns to Salisbury with the sixth annual Jack Purnell-Chris Thomas Memorial Tennis Tournament held August 19-23 at Salisbury University. Proceeds benefit Coastal Hospice.

In this men’s open singles and doubles tournament, a total of $25,000 in prize money is up for grabs, including $4,500 to the singles winner and $2,400 to the singles runner-up.

Many professional players ranked as high as 150 in the world will be entering the draw. Some players take advantage of the proximity of this tournament to the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York City as a warm-up and practice for the Open. The court surface and weather conditions, including heat and humidity are similar to those the players experience in the Big Apple in late August.

This year’s presenting tournament sponsor is Thomas P. Monahan, LLC. Other sponsors include Kuhn’s Jewelers; Three Lower Counties Community Services, Inc.; and The Bank of Delmarva.

The tournament is named in honor of two late local tennis players. Born in 1929, Purnell was an avid baseball player and went on to become the youngest general manager for a farm team of the Cincinnati Reds before working in the public relations office of the National Baseball League. After returning to Salisbury he purchased and operated his family’s business, Kuhn’s Jewelers, and took up tennis and golf. He was a community advocate and founding board member of Coastal Hospice prior to dying of cancer in 2002.

Thomas grew up in Southern New Jersey and Salisbury.  A natural athlete, he was a graduate of SU, where he was a member of the men’s tennis team. He left the East Coast in 1980 to work as a tennis pro in Hawaii and Guam. He returned to the area in 1981 to fight a year-long battle with cancer, dying in 1982 at age 27.

Admission is free and the public is invited. Play is continuous daily from 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Parking is available in SU’s Blackwell parking lot on Camden Avenue, adjacent to Holloway Hall. For more information visit the tournament Web site at, or contact tournament coordinator Michele Thomas at 410-548-1100, ext. 1029, or

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