Allen Fox, Ph.D.

Dr. Allen E. Fox is a former world-class tennis player in the 1960s and 1970s who went on to be a college coach and author. He was ranked as high as U.S. No. 4 in 1962 and was in the top ten in the U.S. five times between 1961 and 1968.

In 1960, he won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) doubles title with Larry Nagler for the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). 

In 1961, as team captain, Fox won the NCAA singles title. He was named All-American in 1959, 1960, and 1961, and was named All-UCLA and All-University of California Athlete of the Year. 

Fox helped lead UCLA to NCAA team championships in 1960 and 1961. He graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in physics in 1961 and later earned a Ph.D. there in psychology.

 

When he graduated, Fox was the 4th-ranked singles player in the United States. He won the singles title at Cincinnati in 1961. He won also the 1962 US National Hard Court title. That year, he reached the singles final in Cincinnati, falling to Marty Riessen. In 1965 he reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.

In 1966, he won the Canadian Nationals and the (40th annual) Mercedes-Benz Cup, formerly known as the Pacific Southwest Championships, as a graduate student, beating the then-current Champions of all four Major Slams - Manuel Santana, Wimbledon, Fred Stolle, US, Tony Roche, French, and Roy Emerson, Australian, in the Finals.

Fox coached the Pepperdine University men’s tennis team, at the highest level-Division 1, for 17 years. His teams, which included Brad Gilbert, reached the NCAA finals twice, the semifinals three times, and the quarterfinals six times. In his career, he coached his teams to a 368–108 won-lost record between 1979 and 1995; the .778 winning percentage is the best in Pepperdine tennis history.

Fox has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and lecturer. He has authored several books, including Think to Win: The Strategic Dimension of Tennis, If I'm The Better Player, Why Can't I Win?, TENNIS: Winning the Mental Match, and The Winner's Mind: A Competitor's Guide to Sports and Business Success. He is a former editor of Tennis Magazine.

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Present-Day America: Parallels to Ancient Rome

By Allen Fox

Our check and balance system of government has been In place for over 200 years, but I don’t believe it will last much longer. What form it will develop into, I am not sure, but it is no longer working as it is.

 

Knowing history can be helpful in predicting what will happen in the future because human nature hasn’t changed, so history tends to repeat itself.

Take, for example, what happened to the Roman republic. It had a check and balance system quite similar to our own. They had a senate to represent the aristocracy and its most accomplished citizens; an assembly to represent the common people; two tribunes of the people who could veto laws passed by the senate; and two councils who were in control of the military and were similar to our President. It lasted for almost 500 years. 

And it worked well in the early days because they were constantly at war, and Roman lives and property were constantly threatened. Since the people felt seriously endangered, they knew they had to put their differences aside and act for the good of the country. 

Roman Republic (Image: U.S. Military Academy)

On the whole, at this time, the people were strong, disciplined, moralistic, religious, and patriotic. But the trouble began in the last 100 years of the republic after they had been totally successful in war and had taken over most of the area surrounding the Mediterranean.

Wealth poured into Rome, and it was widely protected by its enormous numbers of legions, which were stationed from the Atlantic coast around the Mediterranean all the way through North Africa. Rome had become rich and safe. And the people had changed. They had become more selfish and short-sighted. They began to fight amongst themselves over land, wealth, and power. The sides no longer worked together for the good of the country. The wealthy blocked legislation that advanced the interests of the poor. Officials were interested in their own positions and power. Civil violence broke out and they began to kill each other.

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Julius Caesar saw this disfunction, took control, and in his nine-month tenure fixed many of the enduring problems. But Brutus, Cassius, and a number of the other senators wanted to restore the republic, so they assassinated Caesar. These were not bad people. In fact, they were patriots. But it didn’t work. After two more civil wars, Rome became a dictatorship (with Emperors) and the republic never returned. 

Roman Empire (Image: CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Empire lasted in the west for another 500 years, and for much of the time, it functioned rather well. (It lasted for an additional 1,000 years in the east with its capital in Constantinople.) What Brutus, Cassius, and the others didn’t realize was that the people had changed. They were no longer the hardy, moralistic, patriotic bunch that had conquered much of the western world. They had become too rich, soft, and selfish to handle the give and take necessary for running the republic’s check and balance political system. Their selfishness and violence broke the system down, and a dictatorship was necessary to control this widespread and complex empire.

The parallels with the present-day United States are obvious. We also have a check and balance system, and our two political parties also need to work together to pass legislation for the good of the country. They used to but no longer do. Times have changed. These days we are not under a credible existential threat, as we were in World War II and earlier. With our nuclear weapons and our advanced technologies, the average American does not feel military invasion is a significant risk. And we now have the wealth and leisure to think about our personal economic and social positions relative to others. We have the leeway to be jealous and the time and resources to become disruptive if we are dissatisfied.

Many of today’s politicians have put their own welfare ahead of their country’s, getting elected is their highest priority, and if the country has to take a hit in the process, so be it. Our political parties have checkmated each other such that riots and lootings now last months instead of days; the police are hamstrung by their political bosses and afraid to act, and needed legislation can’t get passed because the parties are more interested in political victories and grandstanding for the press than getting the job done for America.

Like Rome in the late republic, our people and politicians have become less moral, less religious, less patriotic, and more concerned with selfish personal agendas than the needs of the country. The American people are no longer the same people they were before and during World War II. And they never will be again.

Unfortunately, our system is no longer functioning, and I don’t believe it will be getting better any time soon. What type of system will evolve, however, we can only guess.

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