Vanishing Ocean City With Bunk Mann

vanishing 10-11

Salisbury had played host to the National Indoors Tennis Tournament for over a decade when the loss of the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center to a fire on June 27, 1977 made a new location suddenly necessary. Mayor Harry Kelley quickly put together a bid and traveled to Chicago with tennis promoter Jack Richards, left, who was also an OCPD lieutenant, and Gary Fischer, right, OC convention center director at that time.
Kelley’s bid failed but he decided that Ocean City was going to have a tournament anyway. With the help of Salisbury’s Bill Riordan and Bill Dennis and tennis great Gene Scott, an indoor tournament was held in 1977 and 1978 at the OC convention center. It featured players Ilie Nastase, Guillermo Villas, John McEnroe, Vitas Gerulaitis and others. Gerulaitis was the winner of the 1977 event and Vilas the 1978 champion.
Due to not being cost effective, the tournament was discontinued after two years.
Photo courtesy Jack Richards

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