Alan G. Schwartz

Alan_G_Schwartz

The USTA Foundation mourns the loss of tennis industry great, and USTA Foundation Honorary Board Member, Alan G. Schwartz.

Schwartz died Dec. 2 surrounded by his children, grandchildren, and wife of 64 years. Over the span of his 91 years, the scope of his influence and the list of his accomplishments made it seem as if he'd lived two lifetimes. Still, it wasn't enough for him. To the end, his "to do" list exceeded the limits of mortal imagination.

Schwartz was born November 7, 1931, in New York City, the first child of Kevie W. Schwartz and Vera (Isaacs) Schwartz. His educational trajectory began at PS 6, followed by Phillips Academy (Andover) '48, Yale University '52, and Harvard Business School '54.

From a young age, sports figured prominently in his life. At Andover, Schwartz captained the tennis team and lettered in swimming. Despite thinking of himself as a tennis player, it was his swimming that captured the attention of Yale's famed Coach Kiphuth. Following an Andover-Yale meet, Kiphuth recruited Schwartz to Yale's swim team with the following pitch: "You are the biggest, fastest, dumbest swimmer I've ever seen. I want you on my team because I can fix that."

At Yale, Schwartz had a lot of fun. Part of it was as a decorated athlete; part of it as a host (along with his three roommates) to a formal gambling den; and part of it as an enthusiastic road-tripper to several of the nearby all women's colleges. So exhaustive were his exploits into the social aspect of undergraduate life that the dean of the engineering school summoned him to his office. "Mr. Schwartz," he asked, "are you under the impression Yale is a correspondence school?" Informed of this encounter, Schwartz's father, Kevie, arranged for his son to spend his junior year living in a single.

Despite his undergraduate escapades, Harvard Business School accepted him, where he graduated with distinction. His work ethic having improved, he skipped graduation, opting instead to start work with his father in the chromium plating business in Chicago. Within a year, Alan and Kevie sold the business, and started a commercial real estate business.

Schwartz continued his tennis career after college, going on to win eight National Championships and seven Illinois State Championships. He has been inducted into 10 Halls of Fame, including the Intercollegiate Tennis Hall, Chicago Tennis Hall of Fame, and the Midwest Tennis Hall of Fame, and he was also a board member at Tennis Channel. He introduced the now ubiquitous 4-inch baseline, as well being a co-creator of the National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP). He was instrumental in creating the US Open Series.

Though he qualified for Wimbledon, he skipped the tournament figuring he'd make the cut the following year. He's still awaiting that second qualifying record.

Playing tennis in Chicago, he grew frustrated there was no suitable place to play tennis indoors throughout the winter.

To solve the problem, Schwartz and his father built Midtown Tennis Club, then the world's largest. Today, Midtown (now Midtown Athletic Club), is considered the world's most successful health club.

Schwartz began his involvement with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) by hosting the Boys' 14 National Indoor Championship at Midtown beginning in 1972. In 1995, he was elected to the USTA board, later serving as president; and was also a member of the USTA Foundation board. Additionally, he served as vice president of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

The man had a personal life, too. Set up on a blind date in 1958 by his P.S. 6-best friend Bob Block, Schwartz met and fell in love with Roslyn (Ronnie) Smulian. Three months later, they married, and 10 months later, they welcomed their firstborn, Steven, who was followed by Andrew, Sally, and Betsy in quick succession.

Ever the optimist, he booked a romantic cruise for next spring, just accepted a three-year extension to serving on the board of International Education of Students (IES), and while checking into the hospital one last time, spent an hour on the phone rearranging next week's business meetings.

Except for his record as one of the worst drivers in the history of ever, he will be missed by everyone who knew him. Our hearts are broken, but the roads are safer.

Schwartz is survived by his wife Roslyn; his son Steven (Claudia); his daughters Sally (Louie Hondros) and Betsy (David Brint). He is also survived by eight grandchildren: Alex Schwartz (Sarah Kessler), Samantha and Alex Emmitt, Annie Schwartz (Maxx McClelland); Genevra (Nessa) and Charlotte Higginson; Karly and Jackson Brinla, Zachary Brint (Caroline MacNeille), and Alan Brint. His great-grandchildren Leo Schwartz, Riley and Jesse Emmitt also survive him, as do his sisters Audrey (Fred) Horne and Amy Lubin (Donald, deceased). He was predeceased in death by his son Andrew.

There will be a memorial service at a later date, to celebrate a remarkable life lived. Donations in his memory to the USTA Foundation would be appreciated to support our mission and Alan's memory of bringing tennis and education together to change lives throughout the United States. Donations can be made via the form below or checks can be made payable to the USTA Foundation and sent to: 70 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains, NY 10604.

 

The USTA Foundation Incorporated (“USTA Foundation”) provides grants and scholarships for programs that combine tennis with education to enrich the lives of under-resourced youth. USTA Foundation is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt, not-for-profit, charitable and educational organization. IRS ID #13-3782331. This request for financial support is for the purpose of funding programs and operations of USTA Foundation. Donations received shall not constitute an endowment of funds and may be expended in their entirety for the state purpose. A copy of USTA Foundation’s most recent annual report is available by contacting USTA Foundation Incorporated at 70 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains, NY 10604 or the New York State Attorney General Charities Bureau at 120 Broadway, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10271. Consult with your tax advisor regarding all donations. ©2023 USTA Foundation Incorporated, 70 West Red Oak Lane, White Plains, New York 10604. All rights reserved.

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