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Centennial Oral History Project: Angel Lopez

Biographical Essay



Jose Angel Lopez was born in 1955, five minutes after his twin brother Antonio. He grew up in Logan Heights and served as an altar boy at Saint Jude Shrine of the West Catholic Church. The family moved to the South Bay area of San Diego and Lopez graduated from Montgomery High School in 1973. He started playing tennis in his senior year of high school and went on to play collegiate tennis at both San Diego City College and the University of Arizona. Lopez attended City College in 1976 and he and his partner won the renowned Ojai Tennis Tournament doubles championship at Ojai Junior College. The City tennis team won the Southern California championship that year and ended the season as the runner-up in the state championship. Lopez transferred to the University of Arizona on a tennis scholarship.

After graduating from the University of Arizona, Lopez started coaching at the San Diego Tennis & Racquet Club and became a full time coach for tennis greats such as Zina Garrison (Garrison was #4 in the world rankings) and Kelly Jones (Jones was a #1 ranked men’s doubles player), among others. He received numerous coaching awards for his decades coaching amateur and professional players of all ages. Angel Lopez was inducted into the San Diego Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011. Lopez discusses coming of age during the Civil Rights Movement, the influence of pioneering Latino activists and athletes, and his philanthropic activities giving back to the community.

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