Bud Collins, the passionate, often irreverent face of tennis for almost half a century in his TV broadcasts and newspaper and magazine columns, died Friday (March 4, 2016) at his home in Brookline, Mass. He was 86.
In 1966, Greg Harney, the producer for Boston’s Public Broadcasting Service, WGBH, approached Collins to do commentary for live tennis matches. He was as colorful as his pants. One pair of trousers was made from Vietnamese flags.
Last year, the United States Tennis Association named the media center at the US Open site in Flushing Meadows in his honor.
Collins worked mostly for NBC Sports before moving onto ESPN in the latter stage of his career, consistently giving some of the best analysis in the world on his sport. “The span of his career is breathtaking”.
Bud Collins, here interviewing Venus (left) and Serena Williams in 2009, was known for his sartorial splendor. He noted that he was allowed to write about tennis as much as he wanted. “There will never be another quite like Bud, and I know that our entire sport, its players, and its many fans deeply mourn his passing”.
Former NFL QB Bernie Kosar: “PRAYERS for Bud Collins who passed Today!!A fantastic Guy who announced & is in Tennis Hall of Fame!!GreatPerson!!” He landed a staff writing position as a boxing writer, and his first tennis assignment was covering the Massachusetts Women’s Championships at the venerable Longwood Cricket Club.
Collins covered the sport for nearly 50 years, mostly for the Boston Globe and NBC.
He joined the Globe in the early 1960s, with his first dateline appearing on December 22, 1963, when he was covering the Davis Cup in Australia. His patented bow-tied presence is credited with spreading tennis’ appeal as a televised event. Collins introduced the intricacies of the simple yet complex game, its heroes and the unrelenting rivalries they produced: Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. “He was a man of greatness and goodness”, Enberg said.
Tennis Hall of Fame member Bud Collins (L) is helped up by fellow Tennis Hall of Famer Owen Davidson as he greets the crowd gathered for the Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Newport, Rhode Island July 13, 2013. One of his teams, which included his No. 3 singles player and future political activist Abbie Hoffman, went undefeated. He wrote the book, the whole big book. Collins’ new partner was learning on the job.