Long­time NBC an­nouncer of ‘ Break­fast at Wim­ble­don’

Chicago Sun-Times - - CLASSFIEDS - BY HOWARD FEN­DRICH AP Ten­nis Writer

Bud Collins, the ten­nis his­to­rian and Amer­i­can voice of the sport in print and on TV for decades, has died. He was 86.

His wife, Anita Ruth­ling Klaussen, said in a tele­phone in­ter­view that Mr. Collins died Fri­day at home in Brook­line, Mas­sachusetts, af­ter suf­fer­ing from Parkin­son’s dis­ease and de­men­tia.

In­ducted into the In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Hall of Fame in 1994, Mr. Collins was well- known for cre­ative player nick­names and turns of phrase that were as colorful as his trade­mark bow ties and one- of- a- kind pants cre­ated from cloth he col­lected around the world.

Mr. Collins con­trib­uted to ten­nis’ pop­u­lar­ity and paved the way for news­pa­per re­porters mov­ing into broad­cast­ing, be­com­ing a fa­mil­iar face to U. S. tele­vi­sion au­di­ences wak­ing up for “Break­fast at Wim­ble­don” on NBC. Mr. Collins spent 35 years on that net­work’s an­nual cov­er­age from the All Eng­land Club and also worked as a ten­nis an­a­lyst for PBS, CBS, ESPN and Ten­nis Chan­nel.

“A leg­end and a gen­tle­man with a unique style, Bud’s anal­y­sis and on- court in­ter­views were must- see TV for mil­lions of Amer­i­can ten­nis fans,” NBC Sports said in a state­ment Fri­day.

Arthur “Bud” Collins was born on June 17, 1929, in Lima, Ohio, and went to Bald­win- Wal­lace Col­lege, fol­lowed by grad­u­ate school at Bos­ton Univer­sity. He coached ten­nis at Bran­deis Univer­sity, worked for the Bos­ton Her­ald, then be­gan writ­ing for the Bos­ton Globe in 1963.

Mr. Collins de­scribed him­self as a “scrib­bler and a bab­bler,” and he mas­tered both forms. His writ­ing style was unique, filled with fan­ci­ful ad­jec­tives and apt metaphors, spot- on ref­er­ences to art and his­tory.

Among the monikers he is cred­ited with be­stow­ing on star ten­nis play­ers: “Fraulein Fore­hand” for St­effi Graf and “Sis­ters Sledge­ham­mer” for Venus and Serena Wil­liams.

He also wrote about other sports, in­clud­ing base­ball and box­ing.

When Mr. Collins was in­ducted into the ten­nis hall, he quipped: “I’ve been hang­ing around there so much, they fig­ured they had to let me in.”

Mr. Collins au­thored sev­eral books, in­clud­ing “Bud Collins’ Ten­nis En­cy­clo­pe­dia,” and won the Red Smith Award for sports jour­nal­ism pre­sented by The As­so­ci­ated Press Sports Edi­tors in 1999. The Na­tional Sportswrit­ers and Sportscast­ers Hall of Fame in­ducted Mr. Collins in 2002.

The In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Writ­ers As­so­ci­a­tion hands out a Bud Collins Award to rec­og­nize as­sis­tance to the me­dia.

Last Septem­ber, the U. S. Ten­nis As­so­ci­a­tion named its Grand Slam tour­na­ment’s press room the “Bud Collins U. S. Open Me­dia Cen­ter” to honor him.

In a state­ment Fri­day, the USTA said: “Bud was larger than life, and his count­less con­tri­bu­tions to the sport helped to make it the global suc­cess that it is to­day. Bud was a men­tor to many, and a friend to many more. Our sport was most for­tu­nate to be as­so­ci­ated with a man of such char­ac­ter and class. . . . Hewill be sorely missed by all of us who loved him— and by the sport he loved so dearly.”

Re­ac­tion from around the ten­nis world poured in.

“Few peo­ple have had the his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance, the last­ing im­pact and the un­qual­i­fied love for ten­nis as Bud Collins,” Bil­lie Jean King said. “He was an out­stand­ing jour­nal­ist, an en­ter­tain­ing broad­caster and as our his­to­rian, he never let us for­get or take for granted the rich his­tory of our sport.”

Martina Navratilova wrote on Twit­ter: “RIP Bud Collins- Dear Bud- you proved you can be a great hu­man, a great hu­man­i­tar­ian & a world class reporter at the same time- much love…”

Chris Evert wrote: “In­tegrity, pas­sion, in­tel­li­gence, wit, com­pas­sion . . . Friend . . . I, like many, will miss you ter­ri­bly.”

Mr. Collins’ sur­vivors in­clude a daugh­ter, seven stepchil­dren and 11 grand­chil­dren, ac­cord­ing to Klaussen.

Klaussen said a me­mo­rial ser­vice is planned for June at Trin­ity Church, fol­lowed by a re­cep­tion at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Re­search Cen­ter at Bos­ton Univer­sity, where his pa­pers are held.


Bud Collins ( sec­ond from right) with fel­low In­ter­na­tional Tennis Hall of Fame mem­bers ( from left) Rosie Casals, Charlie Pasarell and Nick Bol­let­tieri at in­duc­tion cer­e­monies in New­port, Rhode Is­land, July 12, 2014.

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