By Mickey Furfari
Times West Virginian
James “Dart” Meadows, who grew up in Charleston, was a great singles player in men’s tennis at West Virginia University from 1976-79.
He still ranks 10th among all-time winningest singles players in the history of the men’s program, which was discontinued in 2003.
Meadows, who is 55 years old, still plays tennis competitively in the Atlanta, Ga., area where he now resides. He has been an attorney since earning a law degree at WVU in 1983.
His record as a Mountaineer in singles competition was 82-31 (72.6 percent).
“I am surprised,” Dart said of his No. 10 ranking. “Terry Deremer had some great teams when he coached there in the 1980s.”
Besides the outdoor tennis courts in the WVU Coliseum complex, Meadows recalls playing on indoor courts that his coach, Stanley Farr, owned and operated in Westover across town.
He also remembers that Fred Wyant of Morgantown had courts he used to play tennis inside.
Meadows started playing the sport at about the age of 10 and also competed four years at George Washington High School in Charleston.
He was the Mountaineers’ No. 1 singles player in his sophomore, junior and senior years at WVU. For most of his freshman season, he was No. 2 in the lineup.
Bob Haller was No. 1 in 1976.
“Yes, I enjoyed my years in Morgantown,” Meadows said.
“It was a fascinating experience. My father was within a year of basketball superstar Jerry West,” he remembers. “Both were attending East Bank High School. But I don’t think they knew each other, though.”
While Vernon Meadows was attending WVU, son Dart was a baby living with his father and mother in one of Morgantown’s trailer parks. West was doing his thing then, but the tot obviously didn’t know.
“I wish I could have seen Jerry perform,” he said. His father was not an athlete, though.
After graduating in 1979, Meadows did some teaching in Charleston schools before completing requirement for his law degree. He also taught tennis at times during the summer.
He was an assistant coach at LSU for one year in 1980.
“That’s when I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he explained.
He did not get into medical school, so he finally decided to become a lawyer. He’s doing very well in his law practice and seemingly has no regrets.
Meadows was voted team MVP in 1977. He teamed with Tyke Wilson to win the Eastern Eight doubles crown in 1978. He placed third in singles in that tournament.
He also was a three-time team captain among his high honors. Team records were 15-7, 14-7 and 15-10.
He will tell you he loves to play tennis because “it’s a sport for a lifetime.”
Dart and wife Carol have five children — three boys and two girls.
He remains close to WVU and follows its sports teams.