Former Tigers Tennis and Hoops Player Bushman Dies

by LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
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Former Tigers Tennis and Hoops Player Bushman Dies

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Jack Bushman, a former LSU men’s basketball team captain and a member of the ITA Collegiate Men’s Tennis Hall of Fame, passed away here on Oct. 14.

He was the founder of the Blue-Gray Tennis Classic in Montgomery and a nationally acclaimed advocate of the sport. He was 86. His funeral was Thursday in Montgomery where his three children survive him.

Bushman was born in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1917 and earned early acclaim as a basketball star. He reportedly was offered the first-ever basketball scholarship by the University of Florida, but turned it down to walk on at LSU. He earned a scholarship by making the freshman team and went on to become captain of the Tigers in 1938 and 1939 (while earning the same distinction on the tennis team).

He was second in the Southeastern Conference in scoring his junior year and was praised for his defensive play. As a senior, he held the conference’s leading scorer, Georgia’s Lefty Chatham, scoreless in a SEC Tournament game.

He moved to Montgomery in 1940 and built his tennis reputation both as a player and promoter. It was the Blue-Gray Tennis Classic that earned him lasting fame, starting a tournament in Montgomery that began with talented individuals and evolved into today’s spring extravaganza that features some of the nation’s best college tennis teams in action. He was also a past President of the Southern Tennis Association and also served on a number of important USTA committees.