Tennis Team Aerobus

April 11, 2017

Copyright 2017 - Checker Car Club of America, Inc.

 

On Morris Markins death in 1970, his son (David Markin) became President of Checker Motors Corp. While he is known to former Checker employees and Checker enthusiasts for his career at that company, he is more widely known for his association with the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

 

David started to play tennis in High School and was a member of the Bradley University tennis team. In the 1970's, while running Checker Motors Corp., he took on increasingly responsible work for the USTA, eventually becoming its President in 1990-1991. In the mid 1990's David was instrumental in the revitalization of the National Tennis Center in New York, including the construction of the Arthur Ashe stadium where the US Open is now played.

 

To learn more about David Markin and his work with the USTA, read the following article:

USTA - David Markin Obituary - May 2013.

 

It should not came as a surprise that David Markin combined his passion for Checker cars and tennis by promoting the use of Checker Aerobus limousines as tennis team vehicles. One of these limos was prominently displayed in a photo on the rear cover of the 1972 Checker Motors Corporation Annual Report.

 

 The signage on the driver's side door reads:

 

USLTA

Junior Wightman

CUP SQAD

 

Until 1975, the USTA was known by its former name of United States Lawn Tennis Association, hence the USLTA acronym. "Junior Wightman" stands for the juniors section of the association and the 1920's women's team tennis star Hazel Hotchkiss WIghtman.

 

Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman - Circa 1910

 

Hazel is responsible for creating the WIghtman Cup in 1938, the women's equivalent of the Davis Cup. It is an annual tournament pitting the USA against Great Britain.

 

While the girls in this photo are junior tennis players, it is not clear that they represent the actual Junior team. They could, for example, be the junior players at Kalamazoo College brought together for a photo opportunity.

 

There are, however, two photos that do depict the actual Junior WIghtman team members.

 

 

The photo above shows the team together with tennis star Janice Cromer standing in front of the Aerobus left fender. She was the Junior Wightman Cup Player of the Year in 1971. As a pro player, Janice was considered one of the top 15 players in the world and took on foes like Margaret Court and Chris Evert.

 

 

In this second photo, we see another Junior Cup Squad team. The girl in the front row, second from the right is Janet Thomas. From 1980-85, she coached the Oral Roberts University women’s tennis team.

 

While the Aerobus serves as a nice backdrop for these tennis teams, it is important to recognize that its primary purpose was to transport the team members from/to tennis matches. This was certainly true at Kalamazoo College where Aerobuses were regularly used to carry both the men's and women's teams. Alas, that is no longer the case.

 

 

The Markin family legacy is still alive and well at the college where a tribute sculpture to David Markin stands next to the Stowe Tennis Stadium.

 

 

 

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