Kenneth W. "Pete" Tyson

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Distinguished Faculty Member


Coordinator of Handball and Racquet Sports

Special Instructor 1960-1965
Assistant Instructor 1965-1967
Instructor 1967-1970

Assistant Professor 1970-1973
Assistant Professor with Tenure, 1973-1988
Associate Professor 1988-2012
Named Associate Professor Emeritus in 2012

After graduating from Southern Methodist University with a Physical Education, Pete Tyson joined the faculty of the Required Physical Training for Men Program at the University of Texas at Austin as a “Special Instructor” in 1960.  This preternaturally-gifted all-round athlete—who would later be ranked fifth in the world in men’s singles in handball and win both the open and master’s world doubles championships—also excelled in his academic career.  Tyson eventually rose to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure and was granted Emeritus status upon his official retirement in 2012. During his 52 years as a faculty member Tyson worked tirelessly to promote the sport of handball locally, nationally, and internationally. He authored or co-authored six books on the sport, wrote more than 90 instructional and rules-related articles for Handball magazine, lectured at more than 200 coaching clinics, and organized more than 50 National Handball Referee’s Certification Clinics—after creating the sport’s Referee Certification Program. At the University of Texas, Tyson organized scores of handball tournaments over the years, coached both the men’s and women’s handball teams, and inspired thousands of students to take up this great life-time sport.  In 1983, Tyson was inducted into the National Handball Hall of Fame for his numerous contributions to the game.  However, the most singular honor he received came in 2013 when a handball player who had benefitted from Pete’s unstinting love of the game established through a $1,000,000 grant an endowment fund called the “Lubbock Endowed Excellence Fund for Handball in Honor of Pete Tyson.” The interest from that endowment will allow handball to continue to be taught in our department as a way to honor Tyson’s legacy in perpetuity.

Impact:  Internationally recognized handball player, coach, tournament organizer, and author, who brought great distinction to the Department and the University; Tyson developed an academic handball curriculum that inspired thousands of students to become life-long players of the game; His passion for the sport nurtured the U.T. Handball Club to national prominence and created many national champions.

Career Highlights

National Open Handball Doubles Champion, 1966
World Ranked #5 Handball Singles player, 1965-66
National Masters Handball Doubles Champion, 1978
Co-author, Four Wall Handball for the Teacher and Student, United States Handball Association, 2000 (with LeaAnn Martin)
Co-author, Teaching Handball in Elementary Schools, United States Handball Association, 1999 (with LeaAnn Martin)
Co-author Teaching Handball in the Middle and Secondary Schools, United States Handball Association, 1999 (with LeaAnn Martin)
Co-author, The Handball Book, Leisure Press, 1974 (with Jim Turman)
Author, Handball, Athletic Institute Publishing, 1974
Author, Handball, Goodyear Publishing Company, 1971
Coached 61 handball All-Americans
Coached 12 National Collegiate Championship teams in men’s and women’s handball

Honors and Awards

His leadership within the sport and his excellence as an instructor inspired the creation of the $1,000,000 Lubbock Endowed Excellence Fund for Handball in Honor of Pete Tyson
Inducted into National Handball Hall of Fame, 1983
Received National Handball Sportsmanship Award, 1965
Inducted into Southwest Handball Hall of Fame, 1973