WHAT’S IN A NAME: McCluskey Tennis Center
Published 9:30 am Saturday, February 25, 2023
Back when the McCluskey Tennis Center was being built in the early 21st century, tennis was still a niche sport. Now, there is not a day that goes by without people showing up to the courts.
The tennis center is named after Ann and Doc McCluskey, who were avid tennis players in the community before they passed on.
“They were avid players who used to come out and play at Granger Park,” said Bill Champion, the parks and recrecation tennis manager who was also a friend of the couple. “When they were doing the tennis center, I knew at the time Ann was really sick. They were really nice folks and played a lot of tennis, so it was a perfect way to honor them.”
The McCluskeys were resistant to the idea of having something named after them at first but finally relented. It was a perfect honor for the two who shared a life and a love for tennis together.
Sadly, Ann never saw work started on the tennis center, and Doc passed away right before construction started.
“They knew that was going to be the name of it before they passed,” Champion said. “I heard Doc went to play tennis then went to lunch and passed away.”
Tennis was part of their lives to the very end and now their legacy lives on at Granger Park. When the facility was first being built, people had no idea how much use it would get, but the best way to honor the McCluskey’s was by picking up a racquet and hitting the courts.
“They were out there almost everyday,” Champion said. “I can’t think of a better way to honor their legacy.”
Before the McCluskey Tennis Center, the courts were not in the best of shape in Granger Park. Through renovation and hard work, the courts have been revolutionized. Champion being able to do it to honor the memory of the McCluskeys was a highlight of his career.
“Out of everything I have done in my career, naming the tennis center after them has got to be near the top,” Champion said.