Award-winning tennis analyst, TV sports personality Mary Carillo to be honored during Cal State L.A.’s 14th annual Billie Jean King and Friends fundraiser
Day-long celebration to include Community Tennis Clinic
with Billie Jean King, CSULA vs. USC WTT–format exhibition match
Pasadena, CA – Hundreds of guests, including local dignitaries, world-renowned athletes, and student athletes, will be on hand Nov. 5 to honor TV sports personality, former professional tennis player, and author Mary Carillo with the Joe Shapiro Humanitarian Award during Cal State L.A.’s (CSULA) 14th annual Billie Jean King and Friends fundraiser.
The fundraiser will take place at the Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Carillo will receive the honor from the late Joe Shapiro’s wife, tennis Hall of Fame inductee Pam Shriver. Shapiro was a member of the Billie Jean King Executive Committee who worked tirelessly to assist student-athletes in reaching their educational and athletic goals.
“Mary Carillo is a most deserving recipient of this year’s Joe Shapiro Award. She is a tremendously respected professional who shares Billie Jean’s passion for advancing our society by serving as a positive role model and providing educational opportunities to our youth,” said Dan Bridges, director of Intercollegiate Athletics at CSULA. “She has enhanced the lives of numerous individuals throughout the years, including many of our Cal State L.A. student-athletes.”
In the morning, before the fundraiser begins, Cal State L.A. Athletics will host a tennis clinic, and the inaugural “Billie Jean King World Team Tennis Collegiate Tournament,” which will feature an exhibition match between club teams from CSULA and USC at the University tennis courts. The clinic will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the exhibition match will begin at 10:45 a.m. King will interact with clinic and exhibition match participants throughout the morning.
Carillo has been a tennis analyst for all Grand Slam tennis events and HBO’s critically-acclaimed “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” Throughout her broadcast career, she has been honored with several awards, including being named last year as SI.com’s “Best Game Analyst” of the 2000s. In 1981 and 1985, she was named “Broadcaster of the Year” by the Women’s Tennis Association, World Tennis Magazine, the Toronto Star and Tennis Magazine.
Carillo also received two Peabody Awards for her work on HBO Sports: co-writing the 1999 documentary, “Dare to Compete: The Struggle of Women in Sports,” and for serving as a story adviser and interviewer for the 2006 HBO documentary film, “Billie Jean King: Portrait of a Pioneer.”
Carillo played on the women’s professional tennis circuit in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was ranked 33rd. In 1977, she captured the French Open mixed doubles title with John McEnroe, was doubles runner-up at the U.S. Clay Court Championship, and a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open.
Billie Jean King and Friends
Through her direct involvement with the annual fundraiser, to date the Billie Jean King and Friends event has generated more than $2.4 million for CSULA’s Athletics Scholarship Program and Women’s Tennis Team. This year, the fundraiser will include a silent auction, and a dinner and program to ensure the continued support of athletics on campus.
“When we learned Cal State L.A. needed our assistance we immediately knew we had a good idea [in the fundraiser], but we wanted to improve upon it and expand it to all athletic programs at the University,” explained King. “We have been blessed to have the support of Rosie Casals, Patricia Cornwell and so many others each year. The event has grown into a program, which brings pride to all of us and hopefully is meaningful for the University and the student athletes.”
Last year, CSULA’s more than 11 acres of sports facilities were named the “Billie Jean King Sports Complex” in her honor. The complex includes the Eagles Nest Gymnasium, University Stadium, Jesse Owens Track and Field, Reeder Field (baseball), the swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts.
King, who is among CSULA’s most famous alumni, attended CSULA from 1961 to 1964 and played on Coach Joan Johnson’s team, the first women’s tennis coach at the University. King was named to the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986. In 1997, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the California State University system.
King has won a total 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in doubles and 11 in mixed doubles. She won 20 of those at Wimbledon: six singles championships, 10 doubles titles and four mixed doubles crowns.
Throughout her career, King has been instrumental in raising awareness for social justice, change and equality. She spearheaded the fight for equality in women’s tennis in the 1970s and made a strong statement for women when she defeated Bobby Riggs in the infamous “Battle of the Sexes” match in 1973 before a record 50 million viewers on ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
King was also responsible for establishing the Women’s Tennis Association, Women’s Sports Foundation and championing Title IX (the equal opportunity in education act based on gender) in 1972. She was also one of the founders of World Team Tennis in 1974.
In 2009, King was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, at the White House by President Barack Obama. She also has received the NCAA President Gerald R. Ford Award for her contributions to education and intercollegiate athletics. Life Magazine named King one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century.”
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