World War II Veteran, Tennis Hall of Famer and Alumni Brother Gardnar Mulloy Dies at 102

Gardnar Mulloy, a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame who won 129 U.S. national titles, died on Nov. 14, 2016.

He was a Lambda Chi Alpha Order of Achievement recipient and member of our Epsilon-Omega chapter at the University of Miami in Florida.

Mulloy won five Grand Slam doubles titles, was ranked No. 1 in the United States in 1952 and started the University of Miami tennis program. He swept United States Tennis Association grand slams in three age groups: 45s, 70s and 80s.

Mulloy receiving the U.S. Navy Medal of Commendation

Mulloy receiving the U.S. Navy Medal of Commendation

In 1941, Mulloy’s tennis career took a brief hiatus when he was drafted to serve in the military during World War II. He joined the U.S. Navy, became a lieutenant, and was assigned as the commanding officer in charge of a landing ship tank, which included 13 officers and 154 men, assigned to the North African and European invasions. During one of his ship’s many tense missions, he orchestrated a dangerous rescue of a stranded allied ship that was in peril and about to be smashed against some rocks. His act of heroism earned him the U.S. Navy Medal of Commendation. Upon his return home, Mulloy was promoted to lieutenant commander, and shortly thereafter was discharged from the military in 1945.

He was 31 when the war ended, and his tennis career had barely begun. At age 43, he won the Wimbledon doubles title with Budge Patty and helped the U.S. Davis Cup team reach the final.

When Mulloy first attended Miami, he and some of the athletes formed an organization called the M Club, which eventually became the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter. “Suddenly, we were petitioned,” he said in 2008. “Several fraternities went after the M Club because we had a pretty good organization to become a fraternity. And we liked Lambda Chi Alpha the best. We had several meetings and that’s the one we voted on, or accepted their request, and that’s how we became Lambda Chi Alpha.” Mulloy was then a charter member of the chapter, and later as an alumnus he also helped form the Miami Area Alumni Association, often hosting receptions at his home.

He played competitive tennis late into his 90s and would have turned 103 on Nov. 22.

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