George Lott

George Lott

Class of 1964

Master Player

Career Achievements

Top Ranking     
World No. 4 (1931)

Grand Slam Results
12-time major champion, 3-time finalist

Davis Cup
U.S. Davis Cup Team Member 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1933, 1934
Overall Record: 18-4
Singles Record: 7-4
Doubles Record: 11-0

Citizenship: USA Born: October 16, 1906 in Springfield, Illinois Died: December 2, 1991 Played: Right-handed

On the day he turned 85-years-old, the nation’s oldest collegiate coach chose to celebrate his milestone birthday by going on a recruiting trip. The longtime DePaul University mentor had a full $14,000 scholarship to award a promising player he felt could lead his team to a championship.

That coach was George Martin Lott, Jr., winner of 12 major doubles titles, a tennis lifer who knew a few things about winning championships. Sadly, Lott never lived to see the full results of that recruiting trip come to fruition, passing away less than two months later. He was a superior athlete who played tennis his entire life, was DePaul’s head coach from 1969-1991, and never lost his excitement and enthusiasm for the game. He won eight titles at the U.S. Nationals, tied for third best in history. Not bad for a player who doesn’t carry the cache of those slightly ahead of him – John McEnroe, Richard Sears, and Bill Tilden.

Lott carved out a career as arguably one of the finest doubles players in history. He won the U.S. National Men’s Doubles Championship five times with three different partners: John Hennessey in 1928, John Doeg in 1929 and 1930; and Les Stoefen in 1933 and 1934.  The 1928 victory was a record-setter, as Lott and Hennessey defeated Gerald Patterson and John Hawkes 6-2, 6-1, 6-2, the fewest games played (23) in a men’s doubles final.

Lott was slick and cunning around the net and a master tactician with gamesmanship and strategy, traits that served him well as a college coach. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Lott was a dominant force, securing all of his U.S. crowns, adding a French Men’s Doubles Championship and two Wimbledon Gentlemen Doubles Championships. The French hardware came alongside John Van Ryn in 1931, and the two Wimbledon titles were with Van Ryn in 1931 and Stoefen in 1934. The 1930 U.S. and 1931 Wimbledon titles were particularly harrowing for Lott and Van Ryn as each went five-sets and needed a boost of Lott’s volleying proficiency to avoid defeat. Lott added to his doubles legacy by earning three Mixed Doubles titles at the U.S. Championships, two alongside Betty Nuthall in 1929 and 1931 and one with Helen Hull Jacobs in 1934. He teamed with Anna McCune Harper to win the Wimbledon Mixed Doubles Championship in 1931. 

Lott advanced to one major singles final, the 1931 U.S. National Championship. He went toe-to-toe with Ellsworth Vines, succumbing in four hard-fought sets, 7-9, 6-3, 9-7, 7-5. He did prosper in singles playing near his hometown of Chicago at the Cincinnati Open, now known as the Cincinnati Masters. One of the summer’s biggest events leading into the U.S. National Championships, Lott was the first player, and one of only four (Bobby Riggs, Mats Wilander, and Roger Federer) to win the tournament four times (1924, 1925, 1927, 1932). Lott also claimed doubles titles in 1924 with Jack Harris and in 1925 with Thomas McGinn. A Davis Cup player for six years, Lott was unbeaten in eleven Davis Cup doubles matches from 1928-31 and 1933-34.

The tennis facility at DePaul is named in Lott’s honor, recognizing his head coaching service. He lived a long and flourishing life, thriving as a tennis star, University of Chicago shortstop, author, teacher, coach, Life Master Bridge player, and horseplayer.

Grand Slam

Grand Slam Best Results

Titles

8 Doubles | 4 Mixed Doubles

Singles       
French Championships: QF 1931
Wimbledon: QF 1929, 1930, 1934
U.S. Nationals: F 1931

Doubles
French Championships: W 1931
Wimbledon: W 1931, 1934
U.S. Nationals: W 1928, 1929, 1930, 1933, 1934

Mixed Doubles
Wimbledon: W 1931
U.S. Nationals: W 1929, 1931, 1934