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.
|Aleksei Selivanenko, Kremlin Cup
Gene Scott was unique in his never ending desire to move forward and open hew horizons and places for the game he devoted his life to. As Kremlin Cup Tournament Director he did practically impossible in running an elite world-class event in the Soviet Union. Maybe without him doing this we would not see the current rise of russian tennis. He was a person of a broad mind and warm heart. We all miss Gene. He will always stay in our hearts and minds.
|Ken Jacobs, Court Tennis Professional, Tuxedo Club
The first time I watched a game of court tennis in 1979 Gene was playing Robbie MacDonald on the East court. I didn't understand the scoring at the time, but could appreciate the athletic abilitiy displayed. When Gene tossed the basket for the net and got it in the hole that was equally impressive. Since that day I was fortunate enough to know and play with Gene on a court tennis court.I considered him a friend. I will remember him as a man of purpose and intergity. He was a tennis luminary. My condolence's to his family.
|Lesley Poch, USTA Corporate Sponsorship
Gene introduced me to the business side of the game when he hired me as in intern at the Mutual Benefit Life Open at Orange Lawn over 20 years ago. I have never really left this business.
His passing is such a deep loss to the sport of tennis, for he was truly its conscience. He mentored so many, and so kindly. A very special person leaves such a big void for so many.
Condolences to his family at home and his family at Tennis Week, several who are very very special to me as well.
It is difficult to describe how deeply I feel about Gene's untimely death.
What started many years ago as a busines relationship between Gene and me quickly became a warm friendship. It was a privelege to have had the opportunity to know him, and I will never forget his thoughtfulness, wit and kindness.
With great personal sorrow, I ask to share your loss and to extend my heartfelt sympathy to Polly, Lucy and Sam as well as the Tennis Week family.
|Steven Sheer – former Tennis Week Editor, fan and friend
First off my deepest condolences to Polly, Lucy, Samuel, Carole, Bobbi and the rest of the “TW Gang.” When I heard the news, I was so shocked. Gene was one of those people who you thought would live forever.
He gave me my start in the real world. I received my first ever paycheck from Gene. I started as a sales rep for the Eastern Tennis Association’s Yearbook, selling ads on commission. Shortly after I took over as one of the Editors and Gene wrote me a note on a piece of scrap paper, mentioning my salary, the taxes, etc...I was so excited to be in the tennis business and actually get paid that I never even looked at the figure. I will never forget Gene Scott. He was my mentor, he taught me many things in the business world and in world of life.
One of my fondest memories was in 1991 when he asked me to play some doubles. It was with Tracy Austin and her husband Scott. I jumped at the opportunity, I had a blast, and still tell people about it to this day. In addition, he introduced me to Arthur Ashe, Monica Seles, Pam Shriver, John McEnroe, and many more stars who thought so highly of him.
I left Tennis Week about a year later, but always saw Gene at the US Open, and he would se me and say “Get back to the booth” and I almost did!
It is no surprise that he was playing tennis right up until his last days. What he did after double hip replacement was unthinkable at the time. His feelings for Davis Cup tennis were unmatched. Gene was the un-official commissioner of tennis and his views on the sport and the world will most certainly be missed.
Steven Sheer – former Tennis Week Editor, fan and friend.
As much as Gene was an icon to the Eastern players as they grew up, he also found the time to influence and contribute to many of us "left coasters". I was honored to have been one of those players. I am more humbled with each passing year since I continue to realize just how many people he has touched in and out of our world. Thank-you Gene.
|K Pestaina-USTA Volunteer- Sec'y-Eastern Section-Southern region NJ-TW reader
Thank you for being the "radical" voice of tennis.I never met you but through your words, I felt like you were part of my tennis family. Even though you may be gone, your voice will always be heard. May others keep your torch lit.
Bless your family! RIP
|Mark McIntyre, Director, Riverside Clay Tennis Assoc.
I was an avid addict of Tennis Week for years. I was also aware of Mr. Scott's prominence in the tennis world and so had a good idea of how busy he must be. And yet the two times that our small tennis association asked him for a favor, his response was immediate, enthusiastic, generous and affirmative.
Gene Scott - the fiesty USTA forehand challenger who always called the lines the way he saw and made well thought out points and counter points for improving the game. His op ed's will be missed...they were gutsy and you just knew - authoritative.
He added to one's passion that you don't go through tennis...tennis must go through you. His legend is securely in place and no doubt, watching our matches from above.
Bob Coburn, Long Island USTA board,
Hampton Sports Magazine
|Elizabeth Lewis Perkins, former Tennis Week staffer
I am still in shock that Gene has passed and my deepest sympathy to Polly and his children. His death makes no sense to me as I was sure he would live well into his 90’s. Listing his positive traits would take too long but one of his greatest was his sense of humor. He was always quick to the draw and I was never quite sure what clever zinger was headed my way. When I saw him at Mark McCormack’s memorial, he said playfully and quietly, “Didn’t you work for me for about 3 months?” Classic Gene. I worked for him for 3 years but he would never let you off easy for leaving TW. What a great boss you were. You will be missed.
|Bob Pfaender - Friend
Please accept these thoughts and prayers for the life of Gene Scott. He was always trying to make tennis better for all of us in the United States and around the world. He dedicated himself to the excellence of the magazine so he could teach us how to make the game , industry, and goals ofthe game continue to improve. We will miss you Gene. Thank you for all that you did. Understanding sympathies for Gene's wife and children. God Bless.
|Bob Gore-Founder, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief IN TENN
I have spent the majority of my life as a hard news television correspondent, and I believe that is where I developed such an immense respect for Gene and his work.
Gene loved tennis, yet because of the role in life he aspired to, he was in the final sense a journalist that loved tennis. Gene never flinched from asking the hard questions was assertive, even aggressive, in digging for a clear, comprehensive and cohesive answers.
Agree with him or not on his latest crusade, Gene was not interested in what served Gene Scott, rather what best served the interests of tennis, both on and off the court.
At "60 Minutes" they take pride in telling how the most feared words heard are "Mike Wallace is on the phone." In the world of tennis, those words were "Gene Scott is on the phone." Gene offered a window into the soul of tennis, a window that he fought to keep open for the very spirit of the sport.
Gene set a standard of excellence - one the USTA mights consider adopting as the basis for an annual "Gene Scott Excellence in Journalism Award". The Award would be presented for the best journalistic effort at keeping the tennis gate keepers focused on the goal of providing the best atmosphere for tennis to grow and to continue to be loved whether by the kid on the public parks court (with cut-off jeans and a Grateful Dead Tee shirt hitting the ball across the chain link nets) not just the supercilious (only white shorts and a white collared shirt will do) country club player.
He was a player, a mentor, a supporter, a lover of the sport, and a friend.
We will miss you Gene no matter who might come along to take up the mantle we will miss you.
Founder, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
IN TENN - the Video/OnLine Tennis Magazine
|J.B. & Janie Harrison
My memories of Gene began back when I was a teenager in the late '60's, when Gene would play in some of our Canadian Open events. My father, Bruce Harrison, ran a fairly large invitational tournament and Gene, of course, came up to Canada and always won the event. He stayed with our family at that time. It was all amateur tennis at that time.
Gene was always so kind to my father and in the three decades after meeting him, Gene always championed the IC matches between Canada and the US and was always more than willing to get us into the US Open “at the last minute”.
Since I moved to New York, Janie and I have gotten to know Gene and Polly, not just as great tennis players, but as friends.
I have been lucky enough to be on the same side of the net as Gene and have suffered greatly while playing opposite him. I'm probably one of the few people who have not only played tennis with Gene but played guitar as well. His talents were many.
Gene was a true champion of our sport, not just as a player but as a “builder”. No matter who you were, Gene always had a “tip” for you to improve your game.
He loved this sport, on all levels, international, national, professional, amateur or even club. And for his contributions and his spirit, I know he will be missed.
To Polly, Lucy and Sam we send our love and heartfelt condolences on Gene's death. It has been an honour to know Gene both on and off the court.
Gene Scott's magazine was by far and away the best tennis magazine that I have had the pleasure of reading in my 40 plus years in the game. I would open his magazine and wonder who's feet he was going to hold to the fire this issue? Tennis Week was the only magazine that I read cover to cover and I will truly miss his column. I hope he will be considered for the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He deseves it...he told it like it was.
Director of Tennis
Decatur (IL) Athletic Club
|Heather and George Mitchell
Our hearts go out to Polly and their young children, Lucy and Sam, and to all of his friends and colleagues who loved him. The world of tennis will never be the same in the absence of his wit and wisdom.
|Ronald W. Fisher, Secretary, Major Wingfield Historical Society
First and foremost our thoughts are with Polly, Lucy, Sam, family, and friends. The Major Wingfield Historical Society sincerely appreciates all that Gene did for our game. Our members are few and Gene was certainly a leader among our members “who have made a substantial contribution to the game of tennis” and “have made substantial contributions to the United States Tennis Association”.
I met Gene Scott many years before he met me. I was an avid reader and admirer of his many superlative and provocative articles in Tennis Week Magazine. We share the love of tennis. Upon meeting him, I found him to be an extraordinary man, true to his written words. How refreshing this was in today’s world. It was only last week that he wrote a compelling and complimentary letter about my program. I will always be grateful for his inspiration and will always remember him as a special person.
Youth and Tennis, Inc.
|Jane McManus - Friend, writer The Journal News
Last year, Gene Scott had World Team Tennis season tickets just behind the Sportimes bench in Mamaroneck. There he could be seen during home matches with his young daughter Lucy, cheering loudly into the warm nights by the Long Island Sound.
When the Tennis Week publisher died after a brief illness on Monday at the age of 68, the tennis world really lost a pillar. He was a former player, reaching No. 11 in the world in 1965, but more than that he managed to be both an insider and a gadfly.
"He was everywhere and he was everyone's conscience," said ESPN commentator Cliff Drysdale. "What he wrote kept everyone honest and he was a huge influential figure in the game."
At Tennis Week, the magazine Scott published out of offices in Rye, phones have been ringing all week. Managing Editor Andre Christopher said the magazine would continue to publish, and was planning its coverage for the rest of the year. There will be a huge hole, however. In the Vantage Point column of Tennis Week, Scott regularly expounded on everything from the sad state of doubles to the decline of Davis Cup. He tweaked and cajoled those in the sport with power, but he did it out of a tremendous dedication the sport he loved so much.
USTA CEO of professional tennis Arlen Kantarian said he was challenging but charming, like the best friend who tells you he hates your new haircut.
"It's a real tragedy and a huge loss for the tennis world and for eastern tennis as well," said Eric Fromm, a former pro who now works and Sportimes general manager.
After an original diagnosis of heart disease, Scott was found to have died of amyloidosis, the buildup of an abnormal protein in the organs. In the last few months, Scott seemed to be affected by a perplexing fatigue.
It was unlike him. The father of 11-year-old Lucy and 9-year-old Samuel, Scott was still actively playing singles and doubles with his wife, Polly, at Manursing Island Club in Rye. In 2004 he captured the Men's 65 Grass Court Championships.
Lloyd Emanuel, a tennis pro who lives in Rye, was a hitting and sometime business partner of Scott's, and would occasionally drop by the Tennis Week offices.
"I sat with him many times on his perch above Elm," Emanuel said."He was such an intellectual, it felt like his ivory tower."
The writer George Plimpton and tennis legend Arthur Ashe were dear friends, and Scott represented Vitas Gerulaitis and mentored John McEnroe. He was a tournament director and an early adaptor of new racket technologies.
"He had a very aggressive, forceful game," said Drysdale, a contemporary on the court.But what gave Scott his credibility was that he loved to watch and play tennis. After years as a standard-bearer for all he saw as good in the game, there seemed to be no greater pleasure than sitting in a small stadium with his family and watching a good game.
|Larry Scott - CEO WTA Tour
Tennis has lost a shining light with the untimely death of tennis legend Gene Scott. One of the sport’s great pioneers, Gene not only applied his varied experience and expertise, but also wielded his influence to help shape tennis into the truly global game it is today.
As passionate an advocate as tennis – from the recreational leagues to collegiate play to the professional ranks – ever could have or want, Gene consistently challenged those of us in the sport to make improvements for the betterment of all. Whether you agreed with him or not, Gene stirred debate through his “Vantage Point” column, lending his unique insight and ability to provide perspective from all sides. His ever-thoughtful and thought-provoking words became a “must read,” and that voice resonated within each of us… forcing critical self-examination which is nothing but healthy for the sport.
The last book he published was the first-ever, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour End of Year Annual in December 2005. On behalf of everyone at the Tour, we profoundly are saddened by the loss of such an inspirational torch-bearer for the game we all love, and Gene and his tremendous contributions will be missed immeasurably.
|David Goodman, former USTA/Eastern Executive Director
Gene once mentioned me in his column. Publicly I joked about it, saying that I had "made it" in the tennis world. Privately I was thrilled to have been on the radar screen of a legend. A few years later we played doubles together, and I'll never forget the advise he gave me about positioning and poaching ("if you poach in front of me, you better put the volley away").
Gene, thanks for listening when I called with ideas, for making time for me when you probably didn't have it, and for inspiring me with your wit and wisdom.
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