Induction Year: 2023
Ken Crawford was a native Texan, born and raised in Dallas, where he learned to play tennis at Cole Park. As a student at Highland Park High School, he was one of the top juniors in the state and then went on to win the Dallas City Championships eight times, and once he was a Texas Sectional Champion.
He attended SMU and won his first Southwest Conference Singles Championship in 1945. His second title came in 1950 when he returned to SMU after serving in the Army from 1946-1949. The following year he added a third Conference Championship title, a feat that has only ever been achieved one other time – by Sammy Giammalva at UT.
Crawford then headed west to Fort Worth where in 1958 he became Director of Tennis at Ridglea Country Club, a job he held for 32 years. During that timeframe he also served as Head Tennis Coach at TCU (1960-1969), coaching such great players as Paul Christian, Johnny White, Scot Doty and Tom Hill.
In Fort Worth he was one of the original founding fathers of the Fort Worth Tennis Association and served on their board for many years as he was instrumental in growing community tennis in the 1960s and 70s. He and Tut Bartzen joined forces to hold annual coaching clinics for high school and college coaches as well as city-wide clinics for juniors. Crawford served as Chairman of the Texas Junior Davis Cup playoffs as well as Director of the Texas High School Regional Championships for many years.
As a professional player, one of the highlights came when Crawford and his friend Warren McMillan traveled to participate in the Florida Open Pro Championships in 1963, and they defeated Sammy Giammalva and Butch Buchholz who were ranked #5 and #3 in the world, to win the title.
Crawford hosted and directed the first annual Texas Open Pro Tournament in 1964 which featured such great players as Tut Bartzen, Sammy Giammalva, Jason Morton, Butch Buchholz and Leo LaBorde. Crawford was also invited to play in the prestigious Colonial National Invitational in Fort Worth alongside Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Fred Stolle and Arthur Ashe.
As a charter member of the TPTA (Texas Professional Tennis Association, currently USPTA Texas Division) Crawford attended the first two meetings ever held in San Antonio (1965) and Lakeway (1966) where he and Warren got to the finals of the first annual TPTA Pro Doubles event.
Of his many tennis accomplishments and service to community tennis in Fort Worth, Crawford was perhaps most proud of his sons, Randy and Doug, who followed him in the tennis business and, equaled or surpassed their dad in accomplishments and awards. Crawford proudly displayed their many tennis trophies in his home. He died in 2008 in Fort Worth.