12 Jul 2018

Quietly he sits, a minimum of emotion as he studies the play unfolding courtside in his role as the United States Women’s Team coach, Teodor Gheorghe, always known as Doru, modest by nature, is not a person who seeks the limelight.

However, on Thursday 5th July, he was the centre of attention and deservedly so; staged at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas; he was inducted into the United States Table Tennis Hall of Fame.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Born in the Romanian capital city of Bucharest on Thursday 6th November 1952, table tennis for Doru Gheorghe started at the local Bere Grivita Club. He was selected by his Physical Education teacher, who also became his coach.

Rapid progress followed; from 1969 to 1982 he was a member of the national team winning a total of 15 titles at the Romanian National Championships as well enjoying outstanding success at Balkan Championships. He combined playing with education gaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, before in 1987 venturing into the world of coaching at a local level; eventually being the Romanian national coach at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games.

One year later, Doru Gheorghe was appointed coach at the United States Training Centre and for the United States Women’s Team; the appointment being a response to leaflets distributed at the 1997 World Championships in Manchester, advertising the post.

“Besides the love for table tennis and the challenge of winning, I like working with athletes and enjoy seeing their development as athletes and persons.” Doru Gheorghe

Now resident in Fort Worth, Texas, the caring and calm nature which he displays when sitting courtside has gained the respect of all; on four occasions he has been voted “National Coach of the Year”, having guided players to success at the Olympic Games and most notably a host of medals at the Pan American Games.

Significantly, at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the Women’s Team with Wang Chen, Gao Jun and Crystal Huang on duty reached the quarter-finals; later Wang Chen progressed to the same round in the Women’s Singles event.

“My coaches and leaders in Romania, Ella Zeller Constantinescu, influenced me greatly. Also I would like to thank the USTT Hall of Fame for selecting me and organising a wonderful banquet. My thanks to Robert Allshouse, Sheri Cioroslan, Bob Fox, Ross Brown, for supporting and helping me and all other wonderful people that I worked with in Romania and here in USA: coaches, parents , leaders. Each of them has had an impact on my career and my development as person.” Doru Gheorghe

A well merited award; the introduction at the dinner in Las Vegas being made by Sheri Cioroslan, President of the United States Table Tennis Association from May 1999 to December 2007.

“When Doru arrived in the United States, he brought with him the rich culture of Romanian table tennis: diplomacy, exceptional women’s achievements and superior administrative capabilities. Doru was my right hand man throughout most of my presidency. He knew everyone internationally. As a coach and team leader, he guided and inspired our players. He did an amazing job as Executive Director of USATT at the same time. In addition to all of his contributions to USATT, Doru always focused on the needs of others. It was so pleasing to see someone as unassuming and modest as Doru be inducted into the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame.” Sheri Cioroslan

Many sent messages of congratulation to Doru Gheorghe, underlining that his efforts and the admirable way he has always conducted himself has gained the respect not only of those in Romania and the United States but well beyond the shores of the two celebrated nations. He has the admiration of the International Table Tennis Federation, a fact Raul Calin, ITTF Secretary-General endorsed.

“The ITTF Management, through its Secretary-General, would like to congratulate Mr Doru Gheorghe for his induction into the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame. It was always a pleasure to work with him, most of the time as the person in charge of the United States team at international events but also through regular day to day communications. At the qualification event held in Cary, North Carolina for the London 2012 Olympic Games, I had the opportunity to work with Mr Gheorghe, in this occasion him being the host; I keep great memories of that event and our work together.” Raul Calin

Principally, a coach but able to turn his attention to a wide range of events involving the sport of table tennis; notably Doru Gheorghe was a member of the jury at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“It was a new experience and I really enjoyed it, working with ITTF staff and seeing Paralympic athletes perform with passion and enthusiasm.” Doru Gheorghe

Passion and enthusiasm; add dedication and in a reserved manner, has Doru Gheorghe not described himself?

The example set, the commitment shown has been most deservedly acknowledged.

General News Teodor Gheorge