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Kuhn, Al, 1934-2017



  • Existence: 1934 - 2017


Alfred Richard Kuhn, Jr. was born on January 4, 1934, in Chicago, Illinois.  He grew up in south Evanston, Illinois, and attended St. Nicholas Grammar School, Loyola Academy, and Evanston Township High School.  Kuhn entered Northwestern University in 1952 and graduated in 1956.  After two years with the United States Army in the Panama Canal Zone, Kuhn began graduate work in 1958 at Columbia University, where he earned a Ph.D. in Russian Studies.  Beginning in 1963, Kuhn enjoyed a successful teaching career, first at Amherst College, and later at the University of Rochester.  In 1986 Kuhn began a second and rewarding career with The Educational Alliance in New York City, working to improve the lives of young adults afflicted with chronic mental illness.  He retired from that work in 1998 and moved to south Florida.  He has one daughter and six grandchildren.    

            Kuhn once told a friend, "Whatever success I have had in tennis I owe to two people, my Dad and Coach Paul Bennett.  They taught me how to play, how to compete and how to behave on and off the court."  Lessons and support from his father and Coach Bennett paved Kuhn's way to a remarkable junior career.  In 1949 he was ranked as the #2 junior player in the nation. In 1951 he was ranked #5.  Kuhn and partner Don Thompson won two national junior doubles titles and ranked #1 in the country.  In 1952 Kuhn won the Illinois State High School Championship.  A study titled, “America’s All-Time Junior Rankings, 1950-1959” placed Kuhn 37th among the fifty best junior players of that decade.  In 2001, he was inducted into the Evanston Township High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

            At Northwestern between 1954 and 1956, Kuhn played the #1 singles position and teamed with Coach Bennett's son, Paul, at #1 doubles.  Kuhn was the Big Ten Champion in 1954 and runner-up the next two years.  He competed in three NCAA Championships, twice reaching the round of sixteen.  During his college years Kuhn also competed against some of the world's best players, Tony Trabert, Vic Seixas, Frank Parker, and a great Northwestern alumnus, Seymour Greenberg.  Kuhn was proud of the fact that he was able to win state tennis titles in four different states:  lllinois, Wisconsin, New York, and New Jersey.  After his graduation in 1956, he continued competitive play.  Kuhn was especially active while living in upstate New York where he won a number of local, regional, and state championships. In 2014 he was inducted into the Rochester (New York) Tennis Hall of Fame.  Kuhn continued playing tennis well into his Florida retirement.  Despite all this success, Kuhn said that he considered those few years he spent on the Northwestern courts facing Sheridan Road to be the happiest time of his tennis life.

Kuhn passed away on July 14, 2017 at his home in Delray Beach, Florida.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Alfred Richard ("Al") Kuhn (1934-2017) Papers

Identifier: 31/6/131

The papers of tennis star Alfred R. ("Al") Kuhn, Jr. (NU 1956), document the world of competitive tennis, played at a high level, during the 1940s-50s. Papers include biographical material, clippings, programs, and photographs.

Dates: 1946 - 2014; Other: Majority of material found within 1949 - 1956; Other: Date acquired: 02/01/2015