Vic Braden
Full nameVictor Kenneth Braden Jr.
Country (sports) United States
Born(1929-08-02)August 2, 1929
Monroe, Michigan
DiedOctober 6, 2014(2014-10-06) (aged 85)
Trabuco Canyon, California
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Turned pro1952

Victor Kenneth Braden Jr. (August 2, 1929 – October 6, 2014) was an American tennis player, instructor and television broadcaster for the sport. He earned a PhD in psychology and was married twice. He had 5 children and 4 grandchildren.[1][2]


Braden was one of eight children born to Victor (1904-1973) and Mildred (née Mayes) Braden (1906-1968), both natives of Claiborne County, Tennessee.[3]

Introduced to tennis at age 12, he became good enough to earn three Michigan state high school championships, a scholarship to Kalamazoo College, invites to play in River Forest, Illinois and in Milwaukee. He told Sports Illustrated in a 1976 interview that he once hitchhiked to Detroit to watch Don Budge play Bobby Riggs, because he wanted to learn how Budge hit his backhand.

Braden graduated from Kalamazoo College,[4] where he was Captain of the Tennis Team, and won the MIAA Conference Singles Title. He married a model, Joan, upon graduation.[5] He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by his alma mater in 2008.[6]

Vic Braden died of a heart attack on October 6, 2014 at the age of 85. He was married for many years to his 2nd wife, Melody.[7][8]


Braden became a tennis professional after graduating from Kalamazoo College in 1951. While serving as Assistant Basketball Coach at the University of Toledo. Harold Tenney hired him to become the Head Tennis Professional at the Toledo Tennis Club. Besides teaching, he joined the pro tour and played against Jimmy Evert (father of Chris Evert) and George Richey (father of Cliff and Nancy Richey).[9] He moved to California in 1956 and obtained a master's degree and PHD in Psychology from California State University-Northridge and then UCLA.[10] Braden joined Jack Kramer's pro tour in 1959. In 1961, he and Kramer started the Jack Kramer Tennis Club in Palos Verdes, CA where Braden helped direct construction and sell memberships to the club and then served as the Head Tennis Professional. He started Tracy Austin in tennis, and developed his "Tennis College" concept.[11] In 1986, Kramer said, "One Vic Braden is worth a lot of Champions in helping promote the sport. The McEnroes, Borgs, Connors, they've been great. But I don't think any one of them has created the interest in the sport that Vic has."[12] Braden was a patient and good friend of Dr. Toby Freedman, who was prominent in Space and Sports Medicine at North American Aviation and Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic, and was an avid Tennis Player.

Professional accomplishments



Vocational highlights

Licensed psychologist (California), author, sports educator and researcher, cinematographer, videographer, sports, television commentator.

Books authored

He has authored five books with Bill Bruns whom he met in 1973.[20]

Books: Other

Featured in print media

Vic's Vacant Lot

Braden hosted the short-lived television series, Vic's Vacant Lot,[25] which ran in the early 1980s on ESPN and Nickelodeon. The premise was to send Braden out with a group of children to show them how to organize competitive sports.


  1. ^ Williams, Paige (2006-10-29). "Vic Braden's Mental Mojo Experience". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  2. ^ "Author:Vic Braden". Archived from the original on 2013-01-27. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  3. ^ "Victor Braden, Sr." Find a Grave 3 July 2011
  4. ^ "Kalamazoo College Celebrates 175th Anniversary". Kalamazoo College. 2008-04-04. Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  5. ^ "Champions List:1950". MIAA. Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
  6. ^ "Honorary Degree List". Kalamazoo College. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  7. ^ "Vic Braden, tennis instructor, dies at 85". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  8. ^ ABC News. "Sports News". ABC News. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  9. ^ "'Problem Solving Can Be Beautiful'" 3 July 2011
  10. ^ Wisconsin State Journal, May 5, 1975
  11. ^ "Club Profile" The Jack Kramer Club Archived 2012-02-10 at the Wayback Machine 3 July 2011
  12. ^ Los Angeles Times, August 25, 1986
  13. ^ "Products". Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  14. ^ UCLA Psychology Clinic
  15. ^ "Orange County Roundup". Los Angeles Times. September 27, 1985. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  16. ^ "Problem Solving Can Be Beautiful". Sports Illustrated. May 10, 1976. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  17. ^ a b USTA[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Clijsters, Roddick elected to International Tennis Hall of Fame". January 23, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-24.
  19. ^ "Garrison Sports Videos". Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  20. ^ Joe Jares (March 25, 1996). "Two pros on winning at doubles". Daily News (Los Angeles, CA). Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  21. ^ Arnold Schechter (1980-12-15). "Vic Braden's Way of Making Tennis a Love Game among the Younger Set". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 2, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) The Sports Network
  23. ^ Paul Assaiante, Vic Braden: Championship Tennis by the Experts: How to Play Championship Tennis. Leisure Press, 1981, ISBN 978-0-918438-23-2
  24. ^ Jaroff, Leon (1989-10-16). "Teaching Tennis to Toads Vic Braden, Coach Extraordinaire, Uses Humor and Physics to Show Nonstars How to Improve Their Moves on the court". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  25. ^ "Vic's Vacant Lot (1982– )". IMDB. IMDB. Retrieved 15 October 2014.