Longtime Rebel Supporter Eleanor Shaw Passes Away

OXFORD, Miss. - Ole Miss lost one of its biggest supporters, as Eleanor Shaw passed away Wednesday, May 28, at home. She celebrated her 90th birthday on Tuesday.

Visitation is set for Saturday, May 31, from 1-3 p.m., at the North Oxford Baptist Church, with funeral services to follow at 3 p.m., at the church.

Born in North Carolina in 1918, Shaw won the Mississippi state high school tennis singles title in 1935 for McComb. She attended Belhaven College and Perkinston Jr. College (now Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College) where she captured the 1937 Junior College Singles Championship. She went on to Ole Miss where she played intramural sports, including tennis, badminton, basketball and softball, because intercollegiate sports were not offered for women at the time. She graduated from The University of Mississippi in 1939. Shaw attended graduate school at North Carolina.

After college, she teamed with Dorothy Vest in doubles and the late Slew Hester in mixed doubles for several Mississippi championships. At the age of 29, she was ranked No. 7 in the South. She continued to play late into life, earning a ranking of No. 6 in the 60s division, and winning numerous Southern Senior titles in the 70s and 75s division.

"Miss Shaw was an icon at Ole Miss," senior associate athletics director Lynnette Johnson said. "Her passion transcended every Ole Miss sport. She was at every event, whether it be women's basketball, track or men's and women's tennis. She was the epitome of Ole Miss."

Shaw could be seen regularly at baseball, men's or women's basketball, women's softball or volleyball games, track meets and of course her favorite pastime, tennis matches. She sat court side at the men's tennis NCAA Regional just three weeks ago, watching the Rebels beat Marist and Vanderbilt to advance to the NCAA Finals in Tulsa, Okla.

Shaw was famous in Oxford for her legendary cookies, a mixture of chocolate chip, oatmeal, coconut and raisin, which she used to bring to tennis matches and games. For years she baked cookies and brought them to the matches, for fans as well as the coaches and players. Her favorite story was one from many years ago when Sebastien DeChaunac, one of the few Ole Miss players from France over the years, lost a point, looked up into the stands at Ms. Shaw and yelled "Throw me a cookie!" during his match.

 

 

"Eleanor was a legend in her own right, by her accomplishments on the tennis court, but she will best be remembered as one of the all-time great supporters in the history of Ole Miss sports," men's tennis head coach Billy Chadwick said. "At the heart of the success of our tennis program has been Eleanor's presence at every match and of course her famous homemade cookies. We will miss her greatly."

Shaw was elected to the Mississippi Tennis Hall of Fame in 1995 and last fall received the M-Club Service Award at Ole Miss. She is survived by four children, including son John Shaw, who played baseball at Ole Miss, and eight grandchildren.

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