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Naval Academy Fundraiser for Renovations to Honor Legendary Joe Hunt

Lt. Joe Hunt defeated Jack Kramer to win the 1943 U.S. National singles championship in the final match of his life at Forest Hills. Photo credit: USTA

The Naval Academy is fund-raising to renovate its tennis center—and honor legendary champion Lieutenant Joe Hunt.

The United States Naval Academy Athletic Association has launched a fund-raising website for the USNA Dyer Tennis Clubhouse Renovation. The Naval Academy has currently raised about $6,000 of its $75,000 goal. The campaign concludes on April 1st.

Plans to update the facility include an expanded locker room, as well as improved functional areas to serve as study and gathering spaces for midshipmen tennis players. Additional renovations include new coach’s offices, a reception area, and an enhanced viewing deck overlooking the outdoor courts next to Dahlgren Hall.

As part of updating the facility, the clubhouse will feature a dedicated space to honor the legacy of former midshipman and Navy men’s tennis great, Joe Hunt.

Hunt, who transferred to the Naval Academy and eventually became both the No.1 ranked tennis player in the country and the No. 5 player in the world. In the 1943 U.S. National singles championship final, Hunt defeated Jack Kramer to take the title in one of the most dramatic points in U.S. Nationals/US Open history. Suffering from leg cramps, Hunt collapsed to the court on match point and clinched the title when Kramer’s shot went long.

Tragically, Hunt lost his life in service to our country in 1945 shortly before his 26th birthday. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1966 and the Intercollegiate Hall of Fame in 1986. Hunt remains the only man to win the US Boys (15 and under), Juniors (18 and under), Collegiate, and Men’s Singles Championship.

Joe Hunt won the 1943 U.S. National singles championship on a dramatic championship point.

The goal is to raise $75,000 and honor the legacy of Lieutenant Joe Hunt through a dedicated display in the reception area of the facility. In memory of their loss, the family of Joe Hunt has pledged to support the campaign and name the legacy display. All donations towards this initiative are fully tax deductible, and made through the Naval Academy Foundation to support the capital enhancements at Dyer Tennis Clubhouse. You can donate to the cause here.

Donors interested in supporting the project are welcome to make one-time gifts or commitments which can be pledged over multiple years (Example: $10,000 commitment = $2,500 per year for 4 years). Gifts of $2,500 or more qualify to have the donors’ names permanently memorialized with the Hunt family on a plaque at the legacy display.

Editors Note • 10sBalls | TennisBalls has a strong connection to this project. We met Seattle Joe Hunt by a fluke. Geezer shops tennis on eBay often. One night we saw this beautiful little OJAI California tennis trophy. It had No winner name on it. But the price was good. And we knew so many former Ojai winners and  players. So we bought it. Well to our great surprise it was Joe Hunts  singles trophy. Seattle Joe ( grand nephew) had the dubs trophy from the same year. Well long story short. Joe Hunt and Tommy Boy were at USC together. Turns out we helped  sponsor a court in Joe’s name at Annapolis as well as an annual college invitational. Then the USTA came aboard and made their military day in Joe Hunts name. Seattle Joe was a guest speaker at the tennis collectors society . And we are still going strong. Please consider contributing to  this great concept (LJ)