Cane for Life: The Andrew Burrow Story
by Casey Riordan. Andrew Burrow grew up in Oudtshoorn, a large ostrich farming community in the Western Cape province of South Africa. He participated in many sports growing up including rugby, cricket and soccer. However, he excelled in one particular sport that captured his heart from the beginning: tennis.
After high school, Burrow completed his mandatory military duty, but he continued to practice and compete in tennis throughout his training. It was only after he concluded his service that several top-ranked American schools took notice of his talent and recruited him heavily. Although he appreciated all of the universities, the University of Miami fit perfectly with his background and lifestyle.
“The head tennis coach at that time was John Hammill, and he was also a South African. He recruited heavily from South Africa,” said Burrow. “I decided to stick with the U because of those South African ties. It felt like what I had grown up with.”
Burrow made an easy transition into life at the U. Miami reminded him of his hometown, and he experienced little culture shock as a student-athlete in the United States. He flourished on the court, winning more than 100 matches during his time at the U. Probably his most memorable accomplishment, however, was capturing the NCAA Singles title in 1987.
“To win the tournament was very surreal. It was a huge accomplishment for me; I wasn’t expected to win. It was also great to win for the U. It was a great honor for me to be one of only a handful of UM players to ever win the singles title,” he describes.
When he looks back at his experience at the University of Miami, Burrow fondly remembers his coach, teammates and the rest of the community. “It was a great school with a lot of support from the administration, the athletic department and the athletes,” he recalls. “I had the opportunity to excel in tennis and in other sports, as well. I’m glad I made the choice.”
After college Burrow signed with IMG and toured with professionally for several years. He currently resides in Atlanta, Ga., where he met up with the current University of Miami men’s tennis team during their match against Georgia Tech this season.
He sees great things in the team’s future and has a great respect for Head Coach Mario Rincon: “I think they have a good future ahead of them if they keep working hard and continue to support each other. They have a good opportunity to be one of the better teams in the country, which is what Mario wants. I think he’s got a shot at it. I was very impressed when I met the players with their politeness. It’s just a nice group of guys, very genuine, great to meet all of them.”
In 2005, Burrow was inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame. However, he hasn’t been back to his alma mater since then. He hopes to visit in the future, watch a Canes match, and possibly reconnect with his former teammates.
“I still keep in touch with my teammates. We’d love to get the 1987 team back together for a reunion down in Miami. We’d like to get together with the kids on the current team and do some community stuff.” With the support of such a prominent figure as Andrew Burrow, the University of Miami men’s tennis team can only prosper in the upcoming years.