Pittsburgh Triangles

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Pittsburgh Triangles
PittsburghTrianglesWTTlogo.jpg
Founded May 22, 1973 (1973-05-22)
Folded 1976
League World TeamTennis
Team history Pittsburgh Triangles
1974 – 1976
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Stadium Civic Arena
Colors Bright Yellow and Green
Owner Frank Fuhrer (majority)
Chuck Reichblum (minority)
William Sutton (minority)
President Chuck Reichblum
Head coach Ken Rosewall (1974)
Vic Edwards (1975)
Mark Cox (1976)
Dan McGibbeny (1976)
General manager Chuck Reichblum
Championships 1975
Division titles 1975
Playoff berths 1974, 1975, 1976

The Pittsburgh Triangles were a charter franchise of World Team Tennis (WTT). The Triangles won the 1975 WTT Championship. The team folded after the 1976 season.

Team history

The Triangles were founded by John H. Hillman III, William Sutton, and Chuck Reichblum as a charter member of WTT in 1973.[1] The team began play in WTT's inaugural 1974 season. Just prior to the start of the Triangles' initial season, on May 1, 1974, Fox Chapel insurance broker, sports promoter, and financier Frank B. Fuhrer purchased a controlling interest in the team. Fuhrer was elected the team's chairman. Reichblum remained president and general manager. Sutton remained part of the ownership group and was re-elected as the team's secretary-treasurer and general counsel.[2]

The Triangles played their home matches at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During their first season, the Triangles, clad in bright yellow and green uniforms, played in the WTT Eastern Division with teams from Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Detroit, Cleveland, and Toronto-Buffalo. WTT also had an eight-team Western Division for a total of 16 teams representing most of the major metropolitan areas in the United States. There was even a team from Hawaii called the Leis.[3]

The Triangles folded following the 1976 season. With Pittsburgh and Philadelphia both lacking franchises, the league had considered fielding a team called the Pennsylvania Keystones in 1977, composed of players from the Soviet Union. However, with the Cleveland Nets struggling to draw fans for their home matches, owner Joseph Zingale decided to fill the WTT void in nearby Pittsburgh and have his team play approximately half of its home matches in Richfield Township, Summit County, Ohio and the other half in Pittsburgh.[4] The team was called the Cleveland-Pittsburgh Nets. After the Nets announced they would play half their matches in Pittsburgh, the league had planned to have the Keystones play in Philadelphia.[5] The team of Soviet players did compete in WTT in 1977, but it did not have a permanent home and played its "home" matches in several different cities. The name Pennsylvania Keystones was scrapped, and the team was officially called the Soviet National Team and informally the Soviets.

As for the Nets, they played approximately half their 1977 home matches at the Coliseum at Richfield and the other half at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. The Nets also played some "home" matches in Nashville, New Orleans and Hollywood, Florida.

Coaching

The Australian tennis star Ken Rosewall coached the original Pittsburgh Triangles team in 1974. Rosewall's top players were Evonne Goolagong, who had already captured her first Wimbledon singles title in 1971, and young phenom Vitas Gerulaitis. Vitas, nicknamed the Lithuanian Lion, had recently won the West Penn Open in Mt. Lebanon and would go on to win the 1975 Wimbledon men's doubles crown (with Sandy Mayer) and the 1977 Australian Open men's singles title.

Players

Squad 1974

Evonne Goolagong was not allowed to participate in the 1974 French Open due to her association with WTT and the Triangles.[6][7]

Squad 1975

Two days after winning the WTT championship Fuhrer traded Kim Warwick and Rayni Fox to the Cleveland Nets for Sue Stap.

Squad 1976

With Goolagong-Cawley signed for the 1976 season, Mark Cox was elevated to the Triangles' player-coach. The Triangles also recruited college star JoAnne Russell and Bernie Mitton. Midway through the 1976 season the recently acquired Sue Stap was traded for Nancy Gunter.

Results

  • 1974: 30-14 Second in Central Section of Eastern Division—defeated Detroit 63-27 First Round—lost to Philadelphia 52-45 Eastern Division Final
  • 1975: 36-8 First in Eastern Division—Bye in First Round—defeated Boston 2 games to 0 Eastern Division Final—defeated Golden Gaters (San Francisco) 2 games to 1 for WTT Championship
  • 1976: 24-20 Second in Eastern Division—lost to New York 2 games to 1 Eastern Division Final
  • 1977: Become Pennsylvania Keystones during off-season, intending to play home games in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia; fold before season begins primarily due to financial reasons.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Next in Pittsburgh Pro Sports—'Triangles': Net Loop Begins Play Next May". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 23, 1973. p. 30. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Controlling Interest". The Hour. Norwalk, Connecticut. May 2, 1974. p. 33. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  3. ^ "WTT Pittsburgh Triangles". Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  4. ^ Leonard, Vince (December 15, 1976). "Fuhrer Folds Tennis Tent with Touch of Class: It May be 'Trinets' at Civic Arena". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 14, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Tennis Franchise to Philadelphia". The Daily Iowan. December 15, 1976. p. 7. 
  6. ^ John Barrett, ed. (1975). World of Tennis '75. London: Queen Anne Press. pp. 15–17. ISBN 9780362002171. 
  7. ^ "Connors, Goolagong 'Can't Play'". The Palm Beach Post. May 22, 1974. 

External links

  • World TeamTennis, Official Website
  • Pittsburgh Triangles on FunWhileItLasted.net
  • Love Triangles: Pittsburgh Adored its World Team Tennis Franchise by Rick Shrum (Post Gazette)
  • Profile - Danny McGibbeny
  • Extinct Sports Leagues by Steve Dimitry
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