Lily Yip Leads Pillar College Table Tennis Team
Lily Yip remains a pillar of the table tennis community across the USA and beyond.
The Lily Yip Table Tennis Center and Academy in Dunellen, New Jersey is named in her honor. Lily Yip serves as the leader, coach and trainer at one of the East Coast's premier table tennis facilities. Her many accolades include induction into the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004.
A member of Olympic squads in 1992 and 1996, Lily always goes the extra mile for table tennis. In fact, the New Jersey resident paddled her way to the semi-finals in a major table tennis tournament in Houston, Texas in early December. That's more than 1,000 miles from her home in the Garden State.
At the Texas Table Tennis Club in the heart of Houston's China Town, Lily spoke of her new role as player-coach at New Jersey's Pillar College. Pillar is making its debut in NCTTA tournaments this season.
Yip will start work in January 2017 towards her master's in psychology at the small Christian college. The former Somerset Christian College is home to about 600 students. They study subjects like education, business administration and psychology. A few Pillar students are developing their table tennis game, too.
With Lily coaching and mentoring players, and bringing her own paddle to NCTTA tournaments, the Pillar College future in the Olympic sport looks bright.
Lily is easily the best and oldest player on the Pillar team. How old? Lily smiled and answered the interviewer. "Forty-something,'' was her response. She earned her bachelor's degree in 1987 at a university in China.
Whatever her exact age, Lily Yip seems to be in the right place at the right time in her life. Located in Franklin Township in Somerset County in Central New Jersey, Pillar sits about ten minutes away from the Lily Yip Table Tennis Center.
Perhaps some of the players at her club will continue to develop their table tennis skills and suit up for schools like Pillar, Rutgers, Princeton or Pennsylvania, to name a few in the region.
Over the years, Lily Yip has taught some notable table tennis players. They include her son, Adam Hugh, a 2010 Princeton graduate and 2006 NCTTA men's singles collegiate champion.
Another star in the family: her daughter, Judy Hugh, the 2009 women's singles table tennis champion when she was a standout at Rutgers in New Brunswick.
Everybody in the table tennis world seems to know her. At the Houston, Texas tournament on December 3, Mississippi College Coach Cheng Li, and MC star Yichi Zhang, the 2016 NCTTA men's singles collegiate champ, all stopped by to say hello to the energetic player/coach from New Jersey. Li and Zhang are natives of China where table tennis is king.
Want to improve your game? Stop by the Lily Yip Table Tennis Center and Academy at 370 North Avenue, not far from the town's railroad tracks.
Once Lily starts her graduate school studies in early 2017, the Pillar team will consist of two women and six men. At its recent NCTTA tournament in New Jersey, the Pillar team finished in fifth place out of six teams. Lily didn't play that fall day.
Pillar's next divisional New Jersey tournament in 2017 should see a stronger finish. And the same would be true in the future as long as Lily Yip is playing and coaching. "We will bring more students from around the world - from India and China.''
Pillar's women's doubles team, for sure, figures to be much better in the new year. Lily will team up with a 16-year-old girl from the school, and that should be an awesome duo.
Founded in 1908, Pillar College is showing growing signs. While its main campus sits in Franklin Township, Pillar maintains a campus in Newark and is opening another one in Paterson.
Soon after joining NCTTA competition, Pillar officials were smart to contact one of the best coaches in the region. Thanks to Lily's leadership, the Lily Yip Table Tennis Center is rated an ITTF Hotspot for table tennis.