Tennis has been a part of Drury nearly as long as Drury has been a part of Springfield. Some of the oldest photos in Drury's archives show women holding rackets posing in long dresses. (Students walking by one of those photos on display in Burnham Hall sometimes wonder out loud how anyone could play a sport in such restrictive clothing.) Tennis was mostly a casual affair, though, until Drury joined the Missouri Collegiate Athletic Union (MCAU) in the 1950's. Drury teams earned their share of MCAU titles, and after the MCAU disbanded, Drury's success carried over to the NAIA. Drury tennis joined NCAA Division II in 1994. After an extra boost from the administration, Drury was once again competing at a national level.
1994 was also the year current head coach Amine Boustani arrived at Drury. Just three years later he led the tennis Panthers to their first NCAA tournament. Freshman Jalal Chafai led the way, becoming the #2-ranked singles player in the process. The 1998-99 men's team made it to the "Sweet 16" of that year's NCAA-II national tournament. Boustani, like other Drury coaches, looks for more than athletic ability in his recruits. He looks for intelligence, and his teams are often recognized on and off campus for their academic achievements.
Men's and women's tennis teams have been recognized repeatedly in recent years as teams with the highest GPA's on campus. The 1999-2000 women's team had the highest GPA of any Drury team. The 1998-99 men's tennis team was named an All-Academic Team by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
The men's tennis team enters the spring 2001 season ranked sixth in the nation by the ITA. Three-time All-American Jalal Chafai is the #3 singles player, and Chafai and Hicham Falhi are the fifth-ranked doubles pair. As a whole, the team finished the 1999-2000 season with a 25-5 record. After hosting and winning the NCAA Midwest regional tournament on May 5 to 7, 2000, they lost in the semi-finals at the NCAA-II national tournament in Pensacola, Fla. The team won the inaugural Heartland Conference tennis tournament; Jalal Chafai won the Heartland Conference Most Valuable Player of the Year award.
The women's tennis team had a 14-9 record in 1999-2000 and-like their male counterparts-won the inaugural Heartland Conference championship. Adda Abraham was selected as the conference's Most Valuable Player of the Year and was nominated for the Rawlings Woman Athlete of the Year Award. Coach Amine Boustani was named Heartland Conference Men's and Women's Coach of the Year and the ITA/NCAA National Coach of the Year.