Former Women’s Tennis Player Anita Buggins
Inducted into the Southern Conference Hall of Fame
Former Georgia Southern tennis player Anita Buggins (‘98) was one of five athletes inducted into the Southern Conference (SoCon) Hall of Fame in May of last year.
A native of Swindon, England, Buggins was a standout player at Georgia Southern, boasting a 30-0 record — undefeated in conference play for both singles and doubles matches her entire college career. When asked how she kept the streak going, she says she was always looking forward, not backward.
“I never really dwelled on the record or what we had done in the past,” she said. “I was always looking forward, looking to the next match and seeing what I could do in order to win that. Otherwise, it would start messing with your head and you put extra pressure on yourself.”
The pressure never seemed to phase Buggins, who won SoCon singles and doubles championships in 1995, 1996 and 1997, when she was named the SoCon Tournament Most Valuable Player. Along with Britta Wilms, her doubles partner and singles standout, Buggins helped the Eagles win SoCon titles in 1995 and 1996 and regular-season titles in 1995, 1996 and 1998. She was also a two-time SoCon Player of the Year for all women’s sports, and was ranked as high as 30th in the country during her career with the Eagles.
“She was very quiet, composed and focused on the court,” said Cathy Beene, former tennis coach and Georgia Southern administrator. “She was an outstanding student and took care of her business. She was easy to coach and she always strived to get better. She’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached.
“She certainly deserves to be in the Southern Conference Hall of Fame,” she added. “When you go through your whole career and never lose a singles or doubles match in the conference, that’s pretty good.”
PHOTOS: Anita Buggins (left) playing a match for Georgia Southern in the late ’90s. Buggins (right) a few years ago with her son, Lochlan, and her partner, Josh.
A geology major, Buggins was a GTE Academic All-District selection as a senior, and received her master’s in geology from the College of Charleston. She returned to England to play tennis professionally, but after two years, a lack of sponsorship and a wrist injury led her to hang up her tennis career.
Buggins came back to the states to work as a geologist with several international firms and now resides in New Jersey. A few years after the birth of her son, Lochlan, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom, a role she’s kept for 7 years. Needless to say, the Hall of Fame was a pleasant surprise.
“My tennis days are a long way behind me,” she said. “I’m definitely not doing that anymore. But it was kind of a chance to look back and reminisce, you know. Because often when you’re in it and when you’re doing it, you don’t really have time to celebrate the wins and really reflect on what you did. Since looking back and looking at the records, I was like, ‘Wow! That was actually pretty impressive.’ So it was a nice little walk down memory lane.”
When asked about her favorite memories from Georgia Southern, she says it was her team that she remembers the most.
“I feel like the team camaraderie, both with the boy’s team and the girl’s team, we were a very tight-knit group,” she said. “One year, Coach Beene took us to Disney because we were all foreigners and had never been there. That was a lot of fun. Also, getting to see other parts of the country — we went to Virginia and West Virginia and Tennessee and other cool places that none of us had ever been.
“It’s been a long time,” she added. “We’re probably overdue for a reunion.” — Doy Cave