Arthur Worth Collins Jr.
June 17, 1929
Lima, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||March 4, 2016 (aged 86)|
Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.
Arthur Worth "Bud" Collins Jr. (June 17, 1929 – March 4, 2016) was an American journalist and television sportscaster, best known for his tennis commentary. Collins was married to photographer Anita Ruthling Klaussen.
Bud Collins was born June 17, 1929, in Lima, Ohio and grew up in Berea, and was a 1947 graduate of Berea High School in Berea, Ohio, and a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College, where he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. After his U.S. Army service, Collins decided to attend Boston University graduate school. He drove the 700 miles from Lima to Boston with "The mission: convince Boston University to let him study journalism. The promise: if accepted, he would be an excellent student." He would not graduate from the College of Communications until 2009.
From 1959 to 1963 he served as the tennis coach at Brandeis University, where one of his players was Abbie Hoffman, class of 1959. Afterward, Hoffman became a political and social activist. Collins said about Hoffman, "We didn't like each other, but he was a good competitor. He also had a better car than I did." At the time of his death in 2016, the 1959 team was the only undefeated tennis team in Brandeis history.
Collins started writing for the Boston Herald as a sportswriter while he was a student at Boston University. In 1963, he moved to The Boston Globe and began doing tennis commentary for Boston's Public Broadcasting Service outlet, WGBH. From 1968 to 1972, he worked for CBS Sports during its coverage of the US Open tournament, moving to NBC Sports in 1972 to work that network's Wimbledon coverage. He also teamed with Donald Dell to call tennis matches for PBS television from 1974 to 1977.
For several years with The Boston Globe, he was a general and political columnist. He also wrote for the paper's "Travel" section, recommending the best places to visit. In 1967, he was a candidate for mayor of Boston.
During the 2007 Wimbledon tournament, Collins announced that NBC had chosen not to renew his contract and was letting him go. Collins had covered tennis for the network for 35 years. He insisted that he had no plans to retire and would continue to cover tennis for The Boston Globe. On July 8, 2007, the final day of the tournament, fellow Globe sportswriter Bob Ryan, on the ESPN TV show The Sports Reporters, ridiculed NBC for this decision. He said the 78-year-old Collins "still has his fastball" and praised the Globe for retaining Collins.
Collins was hired by ESPN on August 7, 2007. He teamed with onetime NBC partner Dick Enberg on the network's Wimbledon, US Open, French Open, and Australian Open coverage. He also covered the US Open for XM Satellite Radio.
In 1999, Collins was honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors, who awarded him the Red Smith Award, which is America's most prestigious sportswriting honor.
He was inducted in the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 2002.
Although Collins described himself as a "hacker", he was an accomplished tennis player in his own right. He won the U.S. Indoor mixed doubles championship (with Janet Hopps) in 1961, and was a finalist in the French Senior doubles (with Jack Crawford) in 1975.
Collins authored several books, including The Education of a Tennis Player (with Rod Laver, 1971), Evonne! On the Move (with Evonne Goolagong Cawley, 1974), and a memoir, My Life With the Pros (1989). He also produced several tennis encyclopedias, including The Modern Encyclopedia of Tennis, the Bud Collins Tennis Encyclopedia, and Total Tennis.
In 1992, Collins was the host of the 116th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on the USA Network.
In 1994, Collins was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Collins' trademark was his donning of bow ties and "loud" pants, which he had custom-made from unique fabrics he collected while traveling for work. According to Bud's website, all of his pants were fashioned by tailor Charlie Davidson in his Andover Shop in Cambridge, MA. In 2006, he made a cameo appearance as himself in the episode "Spellingg Bee" for the television show Psych.
His papers and manuscripts are housed currently at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University. In September 2015, in recognition of his years of service to tennis, the media center at the US Open Tennis Center was named the Bud Collins Media Center. Collins died on March 4, 2016, at age 86.