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The City Journals

Kent Crawford inducted into Utah Tennis Hall of Fame

May 30, 2017 03:16PM ● By Aspen Perry

Ted Jordan and Kent Crawford at the Cottonwood Club, where Crawford’s tennis career began. (Ted Jordan)

By Aspen Perry  |  [email protected]
Kent Crawford was inducted into the Utah Tennis Hall of Fame on Feb. 16, 2017.
“Being inducted was a life-long dream of mine. I was thrilled to be included amongst the past honorees,” Crawford said.
Crawford kicked off his tennis career at the age of 8 on the courts of Cottonwood Club, under the tutelage of Cottonwood Club’s tennis pro and accomplished tennis player in his own right, Ted Jordan.
“Kent was one of the players that put the Cottonwood Club on the local, state and intermountain tennis map,” said Jordan during his speech at Crawford’s induction ceremony.  
Though Crawford does not currently reside in Holladay, he grew up across the street from the Cottonwood Club, where his parents were charter members for over 50 years. He attributes his tennis career to the years he spent being coached by Jordan there.
“I have many great memories at the Cottonwood Club. We were all fortunate to know and be coached by Ted,” Crawford said. 
Jordan began coaching Crawford and Drew Sweet, another Utah Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, at the same time. He said the two pushed each other to progress in the sport.
“The competition between Kent and Drew helped to make them outstanding players,” Jordan said.
Crawford has an impressive collection of titles for his tennis skills, including three-time Utah High School State Champion (when Crawford attended Cottonwood High School), No. 1 singles player at University of Utah 1974–78, and Western Athletic Conference Champion in 1977, to name a few. Crawford won awards for sportsmanship, as well.
“He was special, mainly his quality of character. He won five McIntosh (sportsmanship) awards in his junior career — I don’t think any junior in the history of Utah ever did that. Everybody liked Kent,” said Jordan.
When the Cottonwood Club decided to honor the memory of Mac and Frank Pyke, brothers known for being both outstanding gentlemen and tennis players who died in an airplane accident, Crawford was the first to earn the Pyke Memorial Award for his exemplary ability and sportsmanship.
Even with the long list of awards and accomplishments, Crawford was thrilled when he found out he would be inducted into the Utah Tennis Hall of Fame.
“I played many years, made lots of friends and had lots of accomplishments in tennis, but (to be inducted) really is the ultimate honor and great to have cap your tennis career,” Crawford.
Though Crawford had many great coaches throughout his tennis career, Jordan was the coach that first ignited Crawford’s love of tennis, and Jordan was honored when Crawford asked him to give the introductory speech for the induction ceremony.
“I cherished Kent, so to have him ask me to introduce him just put me on cloud nine,” said Jordan as he patted his heart.
Jordan was inducted into the Utah Tennis Hall of Fame in 2014, and Crawford attributes Jordan’s athletic skill as one of the things that made him a wonderful coach.
“(Jordan) created so many good tennis players that came out of the Cottonwood Club. Our team at Cottonwood High School won three consecutive state championships and was mostly made up of students of Ted’s,” said Crawford.
Crawford is also a two-time NCAA First-Team All-American (1976 and 1977), a title only two other Utah Utes have been awarded. In 1980 and 1981, Crawford coached the University of Utah Women’s team.
After a brief time as the head tennis pro at Oak Hills Tennis Center, in 1982 Crawford left the tennis world as a profession, and began a career with KUTV as an account representative.
Today Crawford is the CEO and general manager of KUTV, proving that he would succeed regardless of what career path he chose.
“I read somewhere that the person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. Kent decided to be the very best,” Jordan said.
Crawford’s list of tennis accolades continues to grow. It was recently announced that Crawford will be among six other athletes — including 16-year NFL wide receiver Steve Smith — to be inducted into the University of Utah Crimson Club Hall of Fame this October.