Franklin Johnson, a member of the 1956 NCAA champion UCLA men’s tennis team and staples in the Los Angeles tennis community, passed away Sept. 15.
Johnson suited up for the Bruins and head coach J.D. Morgan from 1956-58. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s of business administration from UCLA.
A past president of the Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA), Johnson was a fixture on his alma mater’s campus. He became tournament chair of the Los Angeles Open, held annually at Los Angeles Tennis Center from 1984-2012. He was inducted into the SCTA Hall of Fame in 2011.
In 2007, Johnson earned the Samuel Hardy Award from the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The award is given annually to a volunteer of the United States Tennis Association in recognition of long and outstanding service to the sport of tennis.
For more on the life of Franklin Johnson, read the tribute below by Bob Kramer, former tournament director of the LA Open and 2017 SCTA Hall of Fame inductee.
We are saddened to share the recent passing of Southern California tennis legend, leader, friend, and champion, Franklin R. Johnson.
For many years, Frank served as the Treasurer of the Southern California Tennis Association and became President during its most successful years in terms of growth, outreach, and development. Moreover, for many years, Frank served as the Tournament Chair of the Mercedes-Benz Cup, an ATP Tour and US Open Series event held annually at UCLA, owned and operated by the Southern California Tennis Association.
Born in San Diego, California, Frank Johnson was a champion tennis player, and was the winner of four USTA National Championships, NCAA Championships at UCLA, and was in 2011, inducted into the SCTA Hall of Fame with Billie Jean King. In 2016, he received the Section’s Henry Talbert Lifetime Achievement Award and was actively serving as a Board Member for the SCTA Foundation.
Frank Johnson served on the USTA Board for 11 years, starting with two terms as a Director at Large, followed by one term as the Secretary-Treasurer, one as First Vice President and then as Chairman of the Board and President for 2005-06. As Chairman of the Board and President, he oversaw significant strides in the landscape of tennis, from the emphasis on public parks to the renaming of the USTA National…