Brian and Christian Ferguson remembered, honored by annual tennis tournament


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – For the 16th year now, “The Great” Brian and Christian Ferguson Memorial Tennis Challenge was held in the city of Lansing. The tournament is put together by Ron De Leon, who was one of many impacted by the Fergusons.

The tournament is held to honor the legacy Brian and Christian had on youth sports in Lansing. It took place at the tennis courts behind the Waverly Middle School and welcomed those of all ages to come out and participate. It was $20 per individual and all the money raised is going towards the American Cancer Society.

Both Brian and Christian are remembered today by their older brother, Joel Ferguson, who spoke to those in attendance and thanked them for the support.

Among those in attendance was President of Michigan State University Samuel L. Stanley Jr., who wasn’t able to play, due to a recent injury, but still wanted to support the Ferguson family.

President Stanley didn’t know Brian or Chris but has grown close with Joel over years. Joel Ferguson was MSU Board of Trustee’s longest-serving board member, before deciding not to run for re-election in 2020.

Also speaking to the crowd, but via cell phone, was former Lansing Sexton basketball coach Carlton Valentine, who coached with Christian when the Big Red won back-to-back state titles.

Of the three brothers, Brian and Christian were the ones that mastered the sport of Tennis. Joel played the sport but was never as good as his brothers.

All three of them would go on to play college basketball at some point. After graduating from Sexton High, Joel served two years for the U.S. Marine Corps and then walked on the MSU basketball team, Christian played for MSU in 1961 and 1962, and Brian played basketball at St. Louis University and Northern Michigan.

All three have been inducted into The Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame and that’s because they continued to push one another growing up.

“Each one of us would be pulling for the younger ones to be better than us. Our goal was Chris was better than me and Brian was better than Chris, and we were all happy for that,” Joel Ferguson said. “We pulled for each other as brothers, as family. I’m here today and I’m just honored and happy that they’re doing this for my brother’s names.”

“Joel has been welcoming to me and welcoming to everyone at Michigan State University for decades,” President Stanley said. “This is one of the ways that I hope I pay my respects to Joel, his family, and the difference they made.”

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