Eugene L. Scott, 1937 - 2006
The passing of Tennis Week founder and publisher Eugene L. Scott has prompted an outpouring of love, support, condolences and tributes from Scott's friends, colleagues and readers.
Obituary (The New York Times)
If you'd like to post a tribute, please submit it here.
I just can't believe this has happened. Gene to me was someone who you couldn't wait to see, to hear, to listen to and to play with. During the early 1960's when he started Sports Investors, he was constantly thinking of ways to promote our sport. One such idea was when we were both serving on the Eastern Tennis Board and he came up with a way to raise money for Junior Tennis. He borrowed his friend, James VanAllen's carpet tennis court and put it down on local area high school gym floors and played exhibitions. One time he somehow got Billie Jean King to play him in front of a crowd in New Jersey. His format was to play to twenty one points and he spotted her ten of the points. No man had ever played a women in this setting before. Gene won 22-19. This is the kind of thinking that went through his mind for the rest of his life.
To Polly, his Children and Family, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I feel sure in Heaven, he has already found a great doubles game.
|Peter Clement, fellow U.S. Court Tennis player/rival in the late 1970's
Playing against Gene Scott, former U.S. Davis Cup star, was a daunting moment for
any opponent. In Court Tennis, the game Gene championed at the end of his Lawn Tennis career, it was my honor to compete
against him in several major events, including my only Gold Racquets title at Tuxedo Park, N.Y. A capacity crowd of nearly a 100 watched us battle for over 3 hours on a February 1979 afternoon. The crowd was large because Gene was the U.S. amateur champion and was due to challenge Howard Angus, England, for the World Championship title. It was a "David and Goliath" moment that I shall never forget. Gene had me come up from Haverford, to warm him up for World Championship matches. I learned to hit to weak side and not let him hit his favorite "power" forehand to the Grille or the Dedans. Gene was the first and last court tennis player to use a metal racket in the game. The USCTA initaiated a rule preventing the use of metal rackets after he started using a Wilson T2000 in tournaments.
My first memory of Gene, was when I ball-boyed for him at Merion in the early 1960's.
The US. Davis Cup team players, including Chuck McKinley, Donald Dell and Gene played the satelite grass court circuit before the US Nationals at Forest Hills. Gene played Merion often and won the title in the early 70's. He will be missed by all who knew him and by the international tennis community.
|Larry Rockwell, Menlo Park, CA
I grew up in the same community as Gene. I knew him as Butch then. My father and uncle had mentored him as a young tennis player growing up on Long Island. He returned the favor by working with me when I was a junior player and he was at Yale. Later as he became a world class tournament competitor, he got me free passes into Forest Hills, the Meadow Club, and other East Coast tourna,ment stops on the tour. He was a good friend to my family throughout his life. He was generous, smart, articulate, and a consumate gentleman. I'm proud to have known him. The tennis world - no, the sporting world - has lost a strong voice and a good man.
I was so lucky to meet Gene in 1990 in Moscow at the first Kremlin Cup and become a part of his team for years. What an experience for a Russian teenager to work with Gene in Moscow and Tashkent! He had so much faith in his team and we could not let down our leader. Gene’s knowledge of the game and tennis industry was simply perfect and he was so kind to share it with us. He was never just a boss, but a friend and a mentor. We will miss you but you will be in our hearts forever. I would like Polly and children to accept my condolences.
|Lois Prince, a friend for 40 years
Gene was a very generous, loyal friend. Without him, the tennis world as we've known it is over. It will never be the same. On the night he presented me for the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame, I said, "Gene, I don't care what you say as long as you say it." We will miss your voice, but most of all, we'll miss you.
|Marcia Frost, Editor-College And Junior Tennis
It is hard to imagine the world of tennis writers without Gene Scott in it. He was a genius with the pen, and an incredible man. His contributions to the tennis world can not be matched. We will all miss him.
|Carolyn Thierbach, former assistant to Gene and former Associate Editor at Tennis Week
For years I told friends and family all I wanted was a job in tennis. Anything to be involved in my favorite sport - tennis. Gene Scott gave me that opportunity after one short interview in that very overcrowded library at 341 Madison Avenue. I looked around in awe at all the tennis books, photos and paraphernalia as I waited for this man to come in to meet me. A man whose name I was familiar with from having received Tennis Week in my mailbox for years. (A subscription that perplexed me for ages as I did not realize it came for free with my USTA Eastern membership!) I recall now thinking that Gene and I just kind of chatted about tennis, that I didn't really feel I was being interviewed. Imagine my surprise when I got the call he was interested in hiring me. Tennis Week is a unique place that creates a lasting feeling of family with all those that you worked with, and even with those that came before or after you. Gene will never be forgotten in my mind for his love of tennis and for his creative way of doing business. He always found a way, and always made you work hard to figure out a way to get the job done as well. Working at Tennis Week gave me the opportunity to be in the world of tennis, a world I love and treasure. While I don't have the tennis resume Gene has, I share his love of the sport and will continue to work for its future and success. My thoughts and prayers go out to Polly, Lucy, and Sam.
|Weld Henshaw - Classmate
I met Gene in September, 1952 when he became my classmate at St. Mark's School. I last saw him in May, '5 at our 50th Reunion. Polly, Sam and Lucy were there, too. About eight years ago, I was Gene's presenter when he was initiated as a charter member of the St. Mark's Athletic Hall of Fame, a distinction he had already earned at Lawrenceville and Yale.
It was a hot day and the exhaustive list of his many accomplishments in ten or so sports fatigued my audience. Besides tennis, there was soccer, hockey, lacrosse,fives, squash, court tennis, track and field and others. In nineth grade he was the fourth best tennis player in our class. He later would be ranked fourth in the country.
Sometime after school Gene developed excellent writing skills. He also had a facility to cut to the heart of any matter under consideration and a frankness that was refreshing without being hurtful.
Over the years, Gene just got better and better. Its been wonderful to read the expressions of so many others.
|J. Lee Stall, CCM General Manager New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club
I met Gene for the first time when my club hosted the USTA National Men's 65 Clay Court Championships, for the first time, in April 2001. Gene won the tournament that year over King VonNostrand. Gene with his new hips and King with his new knees. The next time, and only other time, I met Gene was in the dining room of the Presidents box at Ashe stadium during the 2002 U.S. Open. I was there as a guest of former U.S.T.A. President and current 50+ year NOLTC member Randy Gregson. There I was sitting at a table with Randy, Zina Garrison, a former mayor of New York, who was on the U.S.T.A. board at the time, and three other then current members of the board of the U.S.T.A. All of whom knew Gene and none of whom knew me, save Randy. Along comes Gene and who does he single out to greet first but me. Then he goes on to congratulate me and my staff on the outstanding job we did in hosting our first National Championship tournament. I was stunned that he even remembered me, much less that he remembered enough to compliment me,after having spent only a couple of hours each day during a tournament at my club 18 months earlier. I have met thousands of visiting tournament players over my 19 years at the NOLTC, none of which have made such a positive impact on me as that one encounter with Gene at the 2002 U.S. Open. I will never forget that moment and will never forget that man. I feel as though I have lost a close friend when in reality he was only an aquaintance. May God bless you and keep you.
|Karen Scott Happer
As I wipe the tears away as a result of your sudden passing, my fondest memory of you is that night at the Guinea in London, in the early 80's, with Shriver and Sara, when you arranged my first date with Marshall. As you know, it didn't go anywhere then but it laid the foundation of a future very happy marriage. I found the engagement card that you and Sara sent, wishing the "Trouble Shooter and Trouble Maker" all the happiness in the world.
You've been a treasured advisor and friend over the years, but most of all, thanks for lighting our fires, Mr. Romance!!!!
With love, laughs and wonderful memories. Karen.
|Nancy McShea -- Another Thought
Everyone in the tennis family owes a debt of gratitude to the DAILY Tennis Week staffers who, despite the untimely, devastating death of their leader and friend Gene Scott, have had the presence of mind during this difficult time to console loyalists while simultaneously plugging along with ordinary tasks to ensure that the next issue of Tennis Week will contain a proper tribute to their founder and editor in chief -- among them Bobbie Faig, Andre Christopher, Richard Pagliaro, Kent Oswald, Carole Graebner, Terry Egusa and Selina LeGrand-Patterson.
|Jon Boone - Long Island Family Friend
I had a rather unique "relationship" with Gene Scott or as his closest family members and friends called him - "Butch". Gene's father was my Dad's very best friend. I came to know Gene right around 1965 as an 11 year old tennis fan. He would have been in his mid- 20s and at the very top of his game. I always recall that his amateur status impresed me greatly. Sort of the Bobby Jones of the tennis world in my mind.
Gene provided us many tickets to the US Open at Forest Hills, (during the grass years!), and would be kind enough to sit and have lunch with my Dad, my brothers and his family after a match.
I recall his graciousness of helping my Dad organize a fund raiser for our small country day school on Long Island. He brought along Chuck McKinley and Clark Graebner as well. Pretty good stuff as they banged away with their brand new tennis hardware - Gene using his new Wilson T2000 racket.
I also recall his flamboyance on the court - his "backhanded" toss of the ball on serve. Too cool for a young pre-teen tennis fan. Once he also allowed my brother and I to play on the grass court after one of his matches at the old Nassau Open at the Nassau, (Long Island), Country Club. This Forest Hills warm up tourney had the likes of John Newcomb, Tony Roche, McKinley, etc. as participants.
Our family, certainly, is saddend to learn of his passing. I, unfortunately, never got to know him as an adult....but just as well some great memories of him as a young man.
|Sandy Harwitt -- former Tennis Week staffer and friend
I posted the item below on the Tennis Life.com website earlier in the week. Gene wanted everyone who was interested in tennis to have an opportunity to have a part in the game and opened many doors for many people. There are too few people in the world interested in being a guiding light for others but Gene was interested in developing the love for the sport. I won't forget that Gene opened the door for me. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.
[From Tennis Life]
Remembering Gene Scott
Like many New York natives who have found a perch in the world of professional tennis, I came by my entry into the game through Tennis Week Founder and Publisher Gene Scott, who passed away at age 68 from heart disease a couple of days ago.
Scott wore many hats – tournament director, promoter, journalist, attorney and advisor to many. His love of the game was a given and his ability to help people to become a part of the game was legendary.
While at times some of his ideas about enhancing the game delivered a few raised eyebrows, often his thoughts at the very least opened the floor to discussions of merit.
There is no doubt that Gene, a former semifinalist at the U.S. Nationals and Davis Cup player, will be missed.
|The USTA Eastern Tennis Family
All of us at Eastern -- members of the Board of Directors, volunteers, staff, players and the hundreds of tennis leaders who represent our member organizations -- are profoundly saddened by the passing of our dear friend and supporter Gene Scott, a past president and board member of the association. Gene spread the good news about tennis for 50 years, as a world ranked player, tournament director, author, television producer and commentator, and most notably through the written word in Tennis Week, which he founded in 1974. We extend our sympathies to his family, especially his wife, Polly, and his children, Lucy and Sam.
|Mark Chadwin, Yale tennis teammate
Gene was special. As a college athlete he was gifted with a elegant grace that made everything he did--soccer, hockey, high jump and, of course, tennis--seem effortless to us mere mortals. Then and throughout his life he was a graceful man in more important ways--ethical, thoughtful, caring and brave.
Gene and I probably haven't spent half an hour together in the last decade, but somehow the world seems a lot emptier today.
|Peter Nicholson, Director of Communications, Rolex Watch USA, Inc.
As an incomparable player, editor and friend of tennis, Gene Scott was a great ambassador for the game. On behalf of everyone at Rolex worldwide, we will miss Gene’s spirit and enthusiasm. He was a true gentleman and will always be remembered for his contributions. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gene’s family. He will always be remembered fondly by the Rolex family.
|John Flaherty - National Advertising Manager, Rolex Watch USA, Inc
Growing up playing tennis Gene Scott was a name that was synonymous with tennis. He was an inspiration to anyone who ever played the game, and he provided unparalleled commentary and editorial on tennis. In addition to the many books he authored, I enjoyed his iconoclastic deportment and unwavering commitment to the game. The most deserving accolade I can bestow upon him is that he was a true competitor; one who never ceased capturing titles. He once shared with me in confidence that he chose his residence based on the proximity of the nearest tennis facility.
And although he wasn’t in favor of the current scoring structure, I think most would agree the score in the tennis community is now “Ad out” without his presence in it. We will all miss Gene Scott.
|William Goodman IV
I was very lucky to have played against Gene, practiced with him, and sat down and talked with him. He was very passionate about tennis and it showed. He was also very passionate about Polly, Lucy and Sam. I know this from the great time I had up at his home in Madison, CT. As I write this, I am viewing pictures of his family and me all happily playing in his pool in a torrential rainstorm. All of us had long pants and shirts on and were all soaking wet. And I remember the smiles on both Polly and Gene's faces while they watched their children playing in and around the pool as the rain came pouring down. I will never forget that. He had such love for his family. He was a great man. He will be missed.
|Tom Tebbutt - Tennis Writer
I first met Gene in 1979 while working for WCT at their Montreal 'Challenge Cup' event. He was the referee and I recall he jokingly admonished me about trying to suck up to Bjorn Borg in the locker room.
Since then our paths crossed regularly at tournaments and occasionally when I contributed to Tennis Week.
Gene was always in the right place - whether it was the Tribune Presidentielle at Roland Garros or a more secluded spot where he was engaged in conversation about the sport.
His vast and varied background contributed to a superior tennis intelligence that will be greatly missed.
Condolences to his family from his friends north of the 49th parallel.
|Weller Evans, ATP
Gene's contributions to the sport are well documented. However, what may not be as widely known is the multitude of people to whom Gene gave a chance to work in tennis who are still involved with the sport to this day. For many of us, our lives would be so much different if it weren't for Gene. The sport of tennis has definitely lost one of its most talented and, dare I say, compassionate individuals.
Quick story: From the first time we met at the Orange Lawn Tennis Club, Gene had always been nice enough to play tennis with me and for more than a decade would basically kick my ass. Finally one day, I took a set from him. I think he scheduled his hip replacement surgery within minutes of getting off the court. I am sure he felt that if he had reached the point of debilitation where he was able to lose a set to me, it was time to pull the trigger on the surgery.
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