Earl "Butch" Buchholz, Jr.
Whether in a boardroom or on a tennis court, Butch Buchholz (pronounced Buckholtz) has always been active in a sport he
Chairman of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Fla., Buchholz has dedicated much of his life's work to that tournament - a unique tennis championship for both men and women.
First conceptualized by Buchholz
while a touring pro over 30 years ago, the first Sony Ericsson Open
was played in 1985 and since then the tournament has grown into the fifth largest tennis tournament in the world.
Today, with $9.0 million in prize money and all the top players competing, the Sony Ericsson Open
is surpassed in size and stature only by the four Grand Slams.
As a 12-day event, the tournament drew 293,228 fans in 2009 - the second highest attendance - and features a permanent stadium, hailed as being among the best in the world.
Active in tennis since his
first tournament at age six and won his
initial title a year later.
became the first player to win junior titles at the Australian Open (1959) and French pen (1958), Wimbledon (1958) and the U.S.
Junior Championships (1958).
Ranked fifth in the world in 1960, Buchholz
entered the professional ranks with Jack Kramer's worldwide circuit.
A founding member of the first men's players association in 1963, Buchholz has served tennis in many capacities.
He directed tournaments in his hometown of St. Louis from 1964- 1968, directed WCT events from 1969-78, directed a Virginia Slims event in 1972, was Commissioner of World Team Tennis from 1977-78, served as Executive Director of the ATP and was a member of the men's pro council - the governing body of men's pro tennis - from 1981- 83.
Butch expanded his
realm in the tennis world in 1997 by acquiring the Pilot Pen International Championships at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale
in New Haven, Conn., a combined ATP
and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour event held annually in August.
Butch added another element to the mix in 1998 when he
agreed to take over the management of the prestigious 50-year-old Orange Bowl International Tennis Tournament.
secured title and presenting sponsors and rescued a junior tennis tradition from extinction.
In 2000, Buchholz
created an ATP
International Series event played in Buenos Aires in February.
In 1992, Buchholz and the late Arthur Ashe, then tennis director at Miami's Doral Hotel, were reminiscing about how tennis programs in their hometown parks had shaped their lives.
They were inspired to form the "Good Life Mentoring Program" in partnership with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
, providing valuable life skills for elementary and middle school students.
Moore Park Tennis Center
in Miami became one of the venues where hundreds of youngsters would benefit from this program.
When Buchholz saw that Moore Park's
50-year-old Tennis Center
needed extensive renovation and reconstruction, he
was determined to play a role in its redevelopment.
had previously been successful in forging a public-private partnership to develop the Tennis Center
at Crandon Park
and knew that it could work for Moore Park
Following discussions with Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Buchholz moved forward, and on March 24, 2001, the Ashe-Buchholz Tennis Center at Moore Park was dedicated.
Buchholz remains Chairman of First Serve Inc., a concept that began in conjunction with the USTA in 2001 as a way to give back to tennis by using the sport as a positive influence on our nation's youth.
First Serve is a youth empowerment organization that utilizes tennis to help kids develop the skills, values, and experience they need to be responsible, productive and successful in life.
The program utilizes public tennis facilities as a venue for teaching a broad range of age appropriate life skills.
, a product of public parks in St. Louis (his father was a public park tennis instructor), has stepped up his
personal involvement with the First Serve effort.