Michael Samuel "Mike" DePalmer
Knoxville - Michael Samuel "Mike" DePalmer, 86, of Knoxville, Tennessee, passed away on Thursday, January 9, 2020.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Samuel and Lena DePalmer, brother Anthony DePalmer, sisters, Marie Catroneo, Loretta Wirth, and his and Vicky's still born baby boy.
He leaves behind his beloved wife, Victoria W. "Vicky" DePalmer of 61 years; sister Marge Harmeyer; children and spouses, Michael Samuel DePalmer, Jr., Michelle (Bob) Williams, Joseph Guy (Cindy) DePalmer, David Anthony DePalmer; grandchildren, Jennifer (Adam) Crow, Logan DePalmer, Rhyne Williams, Caitlyn Williams, Harrison DePalmer and Henry DePalmer; great-grandchildren, Davis Crow, Audrey Crow, and Ellison Crow.
He was born June, 30, 1933, in Westport, Connecticut. Mike was a talented sports figure, he played football, baseball, and basketball for Staples High School in Westport, CT. After graduating from high school, he served three years in the US Army and was stationed in Indian Town Gap, Pennsylvania, Ft. Lee, Virginia and SHAPE Headquarters, Paris, France.
As a walk-on football player at Florida State University he was injured but did play basketball. Desiring to coach ultimately, he served as freshman basketball coach 3 years and freshman baseball coach 3 years. Mike graduated from Florida State University with a BS degree in Education in 1959. After graduating from Florida State, he was hired as Head Basketball Coach and Assistant Football coach at Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida. From there he went to Plant High School in Tampa, Florida, where he coached in the same capacities two years then returned to Bradenton to coach at Manatee Junior College. In the early 1970's Mike partnered with Nick Bollettieri to begin the DePalmer-Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, FL. Mike's talent and influence as a tennis coach along with his gift of leadership helped establish a foundational institution in the community, and The DePalmer-Bollettieri Tennis Academy is now known as IMG Academies. In 1980 he became head tennis coach and assistant athletic director at the University of Tennessee. In 1990 he was inducted into the Knox County Sports Hall of Fame, The Westport Connecticut Sports Hall of Fame and was the 1990 Wilson ITCA National Coach of the year; the 1990 SEC Coach of the year; the 1990 Regional Coach of the year, and the 1990 USPJA National Coach of the year. He retired from the University of Tennessee in 1994 and was inducted in to the University of Tennessee Hall of Fame in 2000.
In 2004 Mike became a member of West Park Baptist Church when he converted from Catholicism and was baptized into the faith. He was also very involved in the Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church Bible Printing Ministry in Oliver Springs, Tennessee.
The DePalmer family will receive friends from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. with a Celebration of Life to follow at West Park Baptist Church on Sunday, January 12, 2020 with Pastor Sam Polson officiating.
Family and friends will assemble at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at the East Tennessee State Veteran's Cemetery, 2200 East Governor John Sevier Hwy for graveside service and interment with Military Honors by East Tennessee Veteran's Honor Guard.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to West Park Baptist Church Building Fund.
Click Funeral Home & Cremation Middlebrook Chapel is honored to be serving the DePalmer Family. www.clickfh.com
Published by Knoxville News Sentinel from Jan. 9 to Jan. 10, 2020.