Gardnar Mulloy dies at 102

University of Miami icon was all around hero

Associated Press File Photo
Associated Press File Photo

MIAMI – Gardnar Mulloy, a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame who won 129 U.S. national titles, has died at age 102.

His wife, Jackie, says the longtime Miami resident died Monday night.

Mulloy was born in Washington, D.C., but moved to Miami when he was a little boy. He played No. 1 at Miami High. But playing football was what got him the scholarship at the University of Miami, where he founded the school's first tennis team and earned a law degree.

Mulloy joined the U.S. Navy and received a medal of commendation for orchestrating the rescue of a stranded ship, as the commanding officer in charge of the USS Alameda County, a landing ship tank that was part of the invasion of Souther France during World War II. 

He was the recipient of the French Legion of Honor. 

After the war, he returned to his tennis career. He was against segregation and wrote about his admiration for Arthur Ashe, the first African-American to be ranked No. 1 in the world. 

Mulloy was No. 1 in the U.S. in 1952 and No. 6 in the world in 1947. 

"He was a really great player," Dick Savitt, who played with Mulloy, told ESPN. "He was very athletic, very graceful and played well into his 40s. He was a great athlete and was a big-time swimmer. He played football and he boxed and he did everything. 

Queen Elizabeth II presented Mulloy, then 43, and Budge Patty, 33, with the Wimbledon Cup for the men's doubles titles in 1957. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1972.