Bud Collins, one of tennis's most flamboyant and outspoken journalists and historians, has died at age 86, the Boston Globe reports. Collins, known as much for his outlandish outfits as for his vast knowledge of tennis lore, died Friday at his Brookfield, Mass. home.
Collins began his journalism career writing for several Boston-area newspapers, and then moved over to television coverage of tennis for CBS and later NBC. He was a fixture on broadcast television tennis coverage from 1968 to 2007, and then moved to ESPN and satellite radio.
Collins authored several memoirs and biographies on tennis, as well as multiple tennis encyclopedias. His habit of wearing outlandish bow ties and pants came from collecting swatches of fabric on his world travels, which he would then send to a Cambridge, Mass. tailor for fashioning into outfits. During last year's U.S. Open, the United States Tennis Association christened the media center in Collins' honor.
“No media figure in history in my mind has ever been as important to one sport as Bud Collins was to the sport of tennis,” Mike Lupica told the Boston Globe. “You can’t minimize it. He became the de facto ambassador to that sport as it was exploding in this country. He educated. He entertained.”
"Keep on hacking," Collins advised visitors to his website. "While your own game may not take you to Wimbledon, it’s more important than [Rafael] Nadal or [Roger] Federer’s because it keeps you moving (in whatever manner) and, for a valuable while, rescues you from the cares of the day."