Lynn "Adams" Clay
Lynn “Adams” Clay--2017 Nominee for WORHOF
(Born in Libertyville Illinois in 1958. Nominated by Greg/Martha McDonald. Coached by Jim Carson)
“Lynn Adams is a retired American racquetball player. A native of California, Lynn Adams was one of the dominant players in the 1980s, as she was ranked #1 or #2 [in indoor racquetball] every pro season between 1980 and 1991. Adams was attending Orange Coast College [OCC], and a middle distance track athlete, when she first tried racquetball at age 19. Shortly after beginning to play, she met Jim Carson, who became her coach and stayed with her throughout her career.” (Wikipedia) Despite being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1987, Lynn continued her storied career directly into the halls of the USA Racquetball Hall of Fame. In fact, many historians consider her in the running for possibly the best player ever to play in either category—indoor or outdoor racquetball. Yet, without a doubt, Lynn Adams is the greatest combined woman’s indoor and outdoor racquetball player in history winning three indoor pro tour, “Player of the Year titles after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
OUTDOOR RACQUETBALL ACHIEVEMENTS
-(including 10 Major Outdoor Pro Titles):
- 7-Time Woman’s Pro/Open National Singles Champion (1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1988).
- 3-Time Woman’s Pro/Open National Singles Finalist (1985, 1986 and 1987). Note-All of Lynn’s losses came from famous outdoor hall of famer Martha Byrd McDonald. (1985, 1986 and 1987).
- 1-Time Woman’s Pro/Open National Doubles Champion with Marci Drexler (over Dee Dee Catcherman and Sherri Knecht 21-14, 19-21 and 11-7). (1987).
- 1-Time Pro Open Mixed National Doubles Champion with ex-husband/long time coach Jim Carson (date unknown. (This info was provided by Hall of Famer Clubber Lane).
- “She began her career on the outdoor courts at Orange Coast College (OCC) before going onto her acclaimed indoor racquetball career. At one point, she and I played against each other in maybe 10 straight women's pro singles finals.” (Martha McDonald on why she nominated Lynn Adams).
- “Lynn Adams is the best woman player I have ever seen in outdoor racquetball. Even though she grew up in Southern California, she rarely played outdoors except for the majors, but her athleticism was off the charts.” (Craig “Clubber” Lane on why he nominated Lynn Adams).
- “Lynn Adams won 6 pro singles championships in a row and also won mixed or woman’s doubles with various partners including Jim Carson, Marci Drexler and Martha McDonald.” (Craig Lane)
- “Adams, the world's top-ranked indoor player who is seeded second in this tournament, will face top-seeded Martha McDonald of Gainesville, Fla., in the championship match for the eighth consecutive year. The match is scheduled for 12:45 p.m.” (LA Times 1998 article).
- “In this decade, one or the other [Lynn Adams or Martha McDonald] has won the singles titles of the U.S. National Outdoor Racquetball Championships (Goldbloom, Orange County Register 1988).
INDOOR RACQUETBALL ACHIEVEMENTS (and Miscellaneous):
- 5-Time No. 1 ranked Woman’s Pro Racquetball Player (1981/82, 1984/85 1985/86, 1986/87 & 1989/90).
- 6-Time WPRA Pro National Champion (1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988).
- 2-Time Winner of WPRA Triple Crown. The only player to win the Woman’s Triple Crown: 1) Diversified Product Championship 2) Ektelon Nationals and 3) WPRA Nationals (1984-1985 and 1985-1986).
- 8-Time Pro WPRA Racquetball Player of the Year (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990).
- 2-Time Finalist USRA National Doubles Amateur Champions-25+ (Jim Carson and Rich Clay).
- Adams is in the USA Hall of Fame in 1997. and the Orange Coast College Alumni Hall of Fame.
- Lynn Adams won 325 of her 369 professional matches for a .887 winning percentage making the USAR Hall of Fame. The Woman’s Pro Racquetball Association-Pro tour (WPRA) created the “Lynn Adams Spirit Award” in her honor. She also co-founded the WPRA because woman took only 30% of the prize money.
- “Adams also averages 50 to 100 appearances a year speaking and conducting clinics on racquetball.” She was also a spokesperson for the Upjohn Company which worked on arthritis-(OC Register).
NOTABLES ON ADAMS:
- “In the first half of the 1980s, Adams had a fierce rivalry with Heather McKay that helped to establish the women's pro racquetball tour.”
- In one of the most dominant rivalries in history Lynn Adams and Heather McKay had played 39 times and Heather had won 20 and Lynn 19. In Heather’s final tournament she lost in the semis and never got a chance to even the score. “To this day, she [Lynn] teases Heather that she lost on purpose.”
- Lynn developed Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 1987 but continued to play and train smarter retiring in 1991. In spite of having MS, she taught approximately 50-90 clinics annually, was on staff of America’s Most Wanted Racquetball Camps and co-authored a racquetball instructional book with Erwin Goldbloom.
QUOTABLES ON ADAMS:
- “…She is widely considered the best woman’s player ever.” (Billy Rhodes, Orange County Register). “Lynn is the best shooter alive. Adams has actually won the outdoor champs for more years than Hawkes—five titles in the last five years.” (Intl Racquetball Oct 1985)
- "To beat her [Lynn Adams], you have to play every point as if your life depended on it," McDonald said.” Outdoor hall of famer Martha Byrd McDonald. (LA Times 1988).
- “Lynn Adams and a few guys used to play indoors at Racquetball World and one day Bill Sell comes out with a look of confusion, so I ask him what is wrong. He turns to me and says, “You won’t believe this huge shot I took from Lynn Adams.” I asked what happened thinking it was a mishit and he said, “No she purposely hit me with the ball because she said I wasn’t trying hard enough.” (Craig Clubber Lane).
- “While attending Orange Coast College in Southern California, Lynn was active in track, specializing in the 800-meter and 1500-meter runs. From the school’s track, she could see outdoor racquetball courts across the street. She often wondered about the game she saw being played there…
- One day, she was talking about the courts to a young man, who invited her to lunch and offered to provide some instruction in racquetball. Lynn accepted both offers. The lessons were short-lived as she went on to defeat the poor fellow. From then on, she was hooked. (Wikipedia). So, when UCLA called to offer her a track scholarship, she turned it down in order to pursue racquetball. (Dick Burton, Racquetball Magazine Online)
- “Two local racquetball professionals, Lynn Adams of Costa Mesa and Jim Carson of Irvine, have played all the angles in an ongoing personal and professional relationship that dates back to 1977.” (LA Times)
- “To this day, it amazes me I can make a living doing this.” (Lynn Adams).
- “My fondest memory was that my career started with outdoor racquetball and because of outdoor racquetball it became a great part of my life. The first time I played was outdoors at Orange Coast College. I was asked to play on a date and when I won, he wouldn’t go out with me. But I loved it and that is how I met Jim Carson my first husband and coach. “(Lynn Adams).
ARTICLES AND COVER STORIES ON LYNN ADAMS: