Friday, October 18, 2019

Oracle's Mark Hurd, Key Financial Backer of College Tennis, Dies at Age 62; My Recap, Videos of ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed

Sad and unexpected news today that Oracle CEO Mark Hurd has died,  a month after taking a medical leave of absence. The cause of death has not been revealed. The 62-year-old Hurd, who played college tennis at Baylor, has been one of the college games's most significant advocates, with his love for the game and his financial support obvious to anyone who follows the sport. I never met Hurd, meaning these comments are based on what I have observed, but from his funding of the fantastic facility at his alma mater to his support and promotion of the Oracle Collegiate Series, the Oracle US Tennis Award and the Oracle Challenger Series, his commitment to elevating American tennis could not be ignored. Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison, who owns the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and has taken that to new heights as an ATP/WTA event, no doubt encouraged Hurd's interest in the sport, but those who have had to work their way up to that level know how important it is to have someone championing the steps below, and for many, that someone was Hurd.  Rhiannon Potkey of the Tennis Recruiting Network spoke to Hurd about his and Oracle's investment in tennis for this article back in March.

My recap of last week's ITF Grade B1 Pan American Closed is up today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, with the background of how Robin Montgomery and Welsh Hotard claimed their first Grade 1 titles.  I'm not a big fan of indoor tennis, but I agree that at least one major ITF tournament in the United States should be held indoors given that is a regular feature of college tennis. The Top Seed Tennis Club, where the tournament was held this year, is an outstanding facility for the event, with excellent viewing on all 12 indoor courts, good lighting, outdoor courts for practice and a gym available for player use. The downsides were few, with expensive hotel prices, which isn't too much of a factor once a player is the main draw, and spotty wifi/4G signal inside the building about all that come to mind. My understanding that this was a one-year trial, but I didn't talk to anyone who would be disappointed if the tournament returned there next year.

Below are the videos of the finals. The perspective may take a little getting used to (it's not as conducive to videos as the Tulsa site was), but it is a chance to see the four finalists. The Tennis Recruiting photo gallery of the quarterfinalists is here.


College Fan said...

Thanks Mark Hurd for all you have done to support college tennis.