Induction Year: 1991
Lamar Hunt (1932-2006) was an American sportsman and promoter. He was born in El Dorado, Arkansas, the son of oil tycoon H. L. Hunt and younger brother of Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt. Hunt was raised in Dallas, Texas. He attended Culver Military Academy and graduated from the Hill School in Pennsylvania in 1951. He went on to Southern Methodist University in Dallas where he graduated in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in geology.
Hunt co-founded World Championship Tennis (WCT) in 1967, a precursor to modern men’s professional tennis. WCT had a strong global influence, transforming and professionalizing tournament tennis. It outfitted players in brightly colored clothing and introduced colored balls. It encouraged audience participation and implemented a tie-breaker scoring system to make tight TV scheduling possible. WCT was the first tournament to use electronic linesmen, on-tour trainers, and full-time public relations professionals. It was also the first to establish a permanent doubles championship.
Hunt was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1993. He is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the National Soccer Hall of Fame. Hunt was a founding father of the American Football League and long-time owner of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, formerly known as the Dallas Texans before moving. Hunt was also one of the founding investors in the National Basketball Association’s Chicago Bulls and also Major League Soccer of which he owned two teams, the Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew and the Kansas City Wizards.