Tennis anyone?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Nobody is a hero in his own hometown until he is unearthed by someone like me.

That's how come in today's diatribe you'll be reading about the feats of gigantic proportions perpetuated by Johnny Mack Brown, a native Butler Countian.

Incidentally, his name was assigned to him by his father, J.W. Brown (a current War Eagle booster), after Crimson Tide standout Johnny Mack Brown, who starred in the Rose Bowl in the 20s.

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But, back to our Johnny Mack…he was born at Stabler Hospital on Christmas Eve in 1948, entered Greenville's public schools here in 1956 and is a graduate of G.H.S.

Since his early days in this area, JMB has basked in the limelight of Tinsel Town stars, as the teaching pro at the Hollywood Tennis Club.

He has hobnobbed with many of the top luminaries there, including William Shatner (Capt. Kirk, Star Trek), Larry Hagman (J.R. of Dallas) and tutored Ricky Schroeder (detective on NYPD) in the finer points of playing the racquet game.

While performing on the tennis courts out west he somehow appeared in an uncounted number or TV and movie shows that in some cases were flashed worldwide via those media.

When he returned to Alabama he assumed the position of head tennis coach at Auburn High School.

Some years ago JMB took over the position of head tennis coach and PT instructor at Fort Dale Academy.

Since that time his girls have lost one match while winning the State Championship five of the last six years of competition for that coveted crown.

In a brief interview last week Johnny Mack modestly exclaimed that all the credit for the outstanding success of his team should be given to the girls.

But we know better…without his competent "know-how" and instructing capabilities… the trophy case would not now be as abundant as is presently the case.

Harking back to his first brush with the net and racquet, JMB noted that in high school he sought contact with the cheerleaders…with tennis racquet in-hand, he did contact the female cheering squad, and has been a tennis fanatic ever since.

He enrolled in AU, and although he did not belong to the tennis team there, his roommate was on the university team and that was where he learned all the "ins" and "outs" of the game.

His game was waxed and polished through his participation in numerous tourneys, the history of which has been sort of laid out in the previous grafs.

In addition to his duties as coach and physical training instructing, JMB spends his summers at the Greenville Country Club supervising the swimming pool there and in advising aspiring tennis buffs in the finer points of the game.

Oh, incidentally, my granddaughter, Nina Marie Gafford, has fetched the loving attention of JMB, for whom she proposes to become one of his finer future tennis stars. The love and adulation are reciprocated.

One more report, ladies-Johnny Mack is of the unwed variety, and is thus fair game.

Tennis anyone?