Grand Forks native Carol Gambucci Sween to be inducted into UND Hall of Fame

May 24—GRAND FORKS — Carol Gambucci Sween played tennis her entire life, honing her skills with her six siblings at the Riverside tennis courts.

Sween had a standout career at Grand Forks Central, winning North Dakota high school doubles championships in 1973 and 1974.

Sween wasn't sure what her next step would be after graduating high school, but she got a call from Dr. Helen Smiley, UND's first women's athletics coordinator.

Smiley asked if Sween wanted to play women's tennis at UND. It gave Sween an opportunity to get a degree while playing the sport she loved, so Sween joined UND's first sanctioned women's tennis team in 1976.

The success she had on the court earned Sween an induction into the UND Athletics Hall of Fame this year.

"It was a shock," Sween said. "The rest of my team could be right there with me. We did it together. When I think of UND, my memories go right to the tennis court."

Sween will be the first women's tennis player inducted into the hall of fame. She won a pair of conference doubles championships during her college career and was runner-up in No. 2 singles her first year.

UND won four conference titles and finished with a 17-0 record in 1977-78, Sween's second year.

Sween was in high school when Title IX was passed in 1972. It gave her an opportunity to play sanctioned college athletics, though women's tennis wasn't the "big sport on campus," she said. The team didn't have uniforms, so players went to the bookstore and found clothes that had University of North Dakota printed on them.

"There wasn't a lot of press or publicity," Sween said, "but we had good success. To us, it was a big deal. We were having fun. We were with our friends. We got to travel. We got to do what we loved to do."

Sween was also inducted into the North Dakota Tennis Hall of Fame in 2018, along with her parents and siblings.

"It's thanks to my parents and to my siblings that got me going," she said. "Getting a chance to play in my hometown with good friends and just seeing it grow. Watching it go from pretty small when I played to Division I ... it's amazing. UND gave a lot to me by allowing me to play and helping out with my schooling. It made a great impact on my life."

Lance Behm, men's swimming and diving (1988-91)

Dick Clay, track and field and cross country (1985-2018)

Heidi Evans Greenwood, women's track and field, cross country and volleyball (2003-08)

Carol Gambucci Sween, women's tennis (1976-80)

Todd Johnson, men's basketball (1990-95)

Mike Olson, men's swimming and diving (1986-90)

Katie Richards, women's basketball (1996-2000)

Dave Tippett, men's hockey (1981-83)

Mike Voelker, football (1976-79)

2000 women's cross country team