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Sports commentator Mary Carillo to deliver 2014 Commencement address

The former tennis star visits campus on May 24, 2014, to share wisdom gleaned from a professional sports and broadcasting career that has included coverage of multiple Olympic Games.

Mary Carillo

Former professional tennis star Mary Carillo P’14, who serves as a sports analyst for CBS, NBC and the Tennis Channel, will deliver the Commencement address to the Class of 2014 this spring when she visits campus to celebrate her own daughter’s graduation from Elon University.

The ceremony is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. on May 24 in the historic campus area known as “Under the Oaks” in front of West Residence Hall. For more information about Commencement week activities, visit www.elon.edu/commencement, which will be updated throughout the spring as events and programs are finalized.

Carillo played on the professional tennis tour from 1977-80 and cemented her reputation as a star when she won the mixed doubles with John McEnroe at the 1977 French Open. Since then, her analyses and insights for various sports networks have earned her accolades throughout the industry, including the distinction of being named “Best Sports Analyst of the Decade” by Sports Illustrated. She today works as a correspondent for HBO Sports on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”

By the time she delivers her Commencement address, Carillo will have covered a dozen Olympic Games, including the February 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Her quip at the 2002 games in Salt Lake City that men’s doubles luge is “like a bar bet gone bad” was recognized as “line of the year” in many sports television columns and remains one of the most memorable commentaries in recent Olympics history.

Carillo received two Peabody Awards for work on the HBO documentary “Billie Jean King, Portrait of a Pioneer” and for co-writing with Frank Deford the HBO documentary “Dare to Compete: The Struggle of Women in Sports.” She has been named "Best Commentator" by Tennis Magazine and World Tennis Magazine, and “Broadcaster of the Year” by the Women’s Tennis Association. Carillo has co-authored two books: “Tennis My Way” with Martina Navratilova, and “Tennis Kinetics” with Rick Elstein.

A native of Queens, N.Y., Carillo lives in Naples, Fla. Her daughter, Rachel, graduates this spring from Elon University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Eric Townsend,
5/20/2014 2:00 PM