Al Kruse

Induction Year: 1989

 

Al Kruse served as head pro at South Bluff Tennis Center for 31 years. Kruse, who retired in 1985, constructed South Texas' first tennis center, which opened inMcAllen in 1933. Three years later, Kruse was the catalyst for the building of Corpus Christi's first center, located at the present site of the Miller High School gymnasium.

 

The former Pan American University star, who was awarded the Purple Heart during World War II, served as tennis coach at Ray High School before taking over the South Bluff center in 1954. During his tenure there, Kruse headed tournaments that attracted future Hall of Famers Ken Rosewall, Pancho Gonzales, Tony Trabert and Pancho Segura. 

 

Kruse's dedication to the sport was evidenced by his construction of the McAllen center. After opening a sporting goods store there in 1932, he left that venture to build the four-court complex, hauling clay from Rio Grande City in a Model-A truck with a bed that wouldn't dump the load. Kruse continually unloaded the clay by shovel, returning for more hauls until the courts were completed. Kruse also hand-constructed a small clubhouse. The South Bluff Tennis Center, located at 502 King St., was renamed the Al Kruse Tennis Center in 1986. Kruse passed away on August 3, 1995.