Friday, March 04, 2016

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Tennis Commentator Bud Collins Dies At Age 86

Bud Collins, irrepressible tennis commentator, has died at the age of 86.

The official ATP World obituary reads:
Born in Lima, Ohio, on the eve of the Great Depression on June 17, 1929, Arthur Worth Collins, Jr. graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College and went on to serve with the U.S. Army. While a graduate student at Boston University in 1959, he began a five-year stint coaching the men’s tennis team at nearby Brandeis University. Among his players was future social activist/anti-war icon Abbie Hoffman. He officially launched his tennis journalism career in 1963, when he joined the Boston Globe, and later worked his way into radio with Boston’s PBS affiliate WGBH.
Collins broke into television with CBS Sports in 1968, regularly joined in the broadcast booth by serve-and-volley extraordinaire Jack Kramer. In 1972, Collins moved over to NBC, where he would become a staple over the next 35 years.  Generations of Americans welcomed him into their living rooms through the tennis-boom years of the 1970s and beyond via his Breakfast At Wimbledon broadcasts, as NBC brought live coverage of the fortnight across the Atlantic. Collins made us feel as if we there alongside him at the All England Club, and he was as much a part of the most prestigious of the four Grand Slams as a tumbler of Pims or a bowl of strawberries and cream.
He developed a unique rapport with players that allowed him to go beyond the usual post-match fodder. After falling to longtime rival Martina Navratilova in the Wimbledon final, Evert famously quipped, “Nice pants, Bud.” Before Collins could get off a question to Pam Shriver in 1978, the future Hall of Famer insisted, “First, turn off those pants.”
He will be missed!

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