February 4, 1936-October 9, 2008
June 11, 2013 By Billy E. Crawford
Henry Jungle was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 4, 1935. His father was a professional boxer when he was a young man so when Hank was in his teens he also wanted to become a professional boxer. His mother did not want that. So, his aunt Ida Jungle got him a series of tennis lessons at City Park. Hank, at age 15, came out and took the clinic from Rita Krupp. There was a series of 10 lessons and at the end of the lessons they had a little tournament and he won. From then on he was hooked on tennis. He would ride his bike from his home on Arabella Street to City Park. He would play with the members of City Park and often with his friend Ronnie Fenasci. He and Ronnie were the same age.
In an earlier interview I conducted with Ronnie, he recalled this story. “One day Vincent DiStefano came to the court Hank and I were playing on and introduced himself. That day, he played one set with each of us. The 6-0 set was the first of many love sets he bestowed on us over the next two years. We started playing two or three times a week and each time we took a couple of love set loses before retiring, exhausted. Our goal immediately was to get the ball back three or four times each point. We got to be better players each day.”
Henry graduated from Fortier High School. While in high school he became the #1 in the boys 18’s of the Southern Lawn Tennis Association. He then accepted a tennis scholarship to Tulane, where he was coached by Emmett Pare’.
1953 SEC Doubles Champion with Ham Richardson #1
SEC Singles Champions #6
1954 SEC Doubles Champions with Ham Richardson #1
1955 SEC Singles Champion #4
SEC Doubles Champions with Jose “Pepe” Aguero #2
1956 SEC Singles Champions #2
SEC Doubles Champions with Jose “Pepe” Aguero #1
During each of these years Tulane won the SEC Team Championship.
Also in 1956 he was defeated in the finals of the Louisiana State Championships by Jose “Pepe” Aguero 1-6, 6-2, 1-6, 6-0, 7-5.
Henry received his Bachelors Degree in geophysics. He was also an Air Force ROTC cadet, but was not called up for the military for two years. As a result of not knowing when he would be called up, it was difficult for him to get a job in his field. Hank had been a lifeguard at the JCC and had met Jake Cohen. Jake had been through the Arthur Murray Dance School and wanted to learn to play tennis. Hank wanted to learn how to dance, so they traded off. At the Fountain Lounge in the Roosevelt Hotel, where many locals went to dance, one night the managers asked Hank if he wanted to learn to be a teacher, which he did. So he taught dancing for about six months. He always said the dancing helped him with this tennis footwork, and he would later recommend dance lessons to his students.
“Mrs. Henry Jungle, Jr. whose marriage to Lt. Jungle, USAF, was celebrated Saturday morning in St. Anthony of Padua church, is formerly Miss Patricia Regina Murphy. She is the daughter of Mrs. Daniel Joseph Murphy and the late Dr. Murphy.”
Pat recalls first meeting Henry. It was at a girlfriend’s birthday party. It was a candlelight dinner dance. I remember he had a broken finger and it was all taped up. He was always with the boys at our parties.
Top right in picture
Henry got his nickname “Hank” after entering the Air force. He served 20 years and obtained the rank of lieutenant colonel. While in the military he continued to be actively involved in tennis, and for a time served as Chief of Sports for the Air Force.
Salt Lake City (UPI) National Crown 1st for Jungle
Unseeded Hank Jungle Of Dayton won the 35-age bracket singles over Cliff Mayne in the 1975 National Indoor Tennis Tournament. Jungle, a Lt. Colonel at Wright-Patterson AFB won by a 6-4, 6-1 score.
Hank played most of the World Tour Events, including the national hard courts and indoor championships, piling up victories over the top 50 world ranked players. Two of his hard fought losses were to Arthur Ashe, 7-5, 6-4 and Chuck McKinley, 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Both were Wimbledon champions. He also teamed for doubles with three #1 world ranked singles players: Barry McKay, Ham Richardson, and Whitney Reed.
He played in the U.S. Open at Forest Hills, where he lost to Alex Ameado in the first round.
The Jungles were stationed at Hamilton AFB California when he met Filipno Col. Tony Tamaya, who was an avid tennis player. A few years later Hank was stationed in the Philippines, when he was ordered to drive to Philippine Military Headquarters in Manila. On his arrival, he then met 2-star General Tamaya, who was an aid to President Marcos. Tamaya was seeking the office of President of the Philippine’s Tennis Association. He also asked Hank to coach his daughter, who was the number 1 Junior player in the country. Hank did coach her and she played in the Junior Wimbledon Tournament.
Return to Civilian Life and A Life of Coaching Tennis
The Jungles were stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB, where Hank was aide to a Lt. General Gideon. He had won most of the tournaments in the Dayton area. He was inducted into the Dayton Ohio Tennis Hall of Fame. Hank was always looking for good players to play. He heard of a young 21–year-old assistant pro at the Dayton tennis club, so he went over to meet him. His name was Tim Gullickson. They started hitting at night after the club closed, and Hank encouraged him to play on the satellite circuit. He told Tim he would work with him and form a group to sponsor him, which he did. He went to Florida and played on the Watch circuit, and after a year or so, was able to get in major tournaments.
Tim suggested that Hank retire from the service and travel with me and have a training camp or club. At that time there was a gentleman from Dayton that had bought a tennis club in Fort Myers. That summer Hank and Pat traveled to Florida and decided to buy into the club. Tim and his twin brother Tom would come down to the club. Hank was tennis director and had pros working for him. The Jungles had the Park Meadow Club for 15 years.
It was here that Hank started the “bicycle circuit” for junior players. There were no junior programs in the area. He got all the tennis clubs in the area to host junior tournaments. He did the same seniors, holding three senior tournaments in the area. In fact, Nehemiah Atkinson and Dr. DeCamp of New Orleans would come down to play in the tournaments. They won their division most years.
Over 60 athletics in “Jungle’s Juniors” program received full college scholarships.
For his efforts he was recognized with the Merit Award by the State of Florida.
The Professionals players he coached included the Gullickson brothers, who became the #1 doubles team in the world, and Johann Kriek who won the Australian Open as a result of this training.
Tim Gullickson went on to coach Pete Sampras. Tim died from brain cancer in 1995 at the age of 44. After Tim’s funeral, Jungle talked to Sampras and said, “Pete you don’t know me, but…Sampras cut him off and said, “You’re the Coronel, aren’t you?”
Kriek reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals in 1978 and 1979, and the semifinal in 1980. He lost a five-set match to Bjorn Borg in 1980.
“Hank was the drill sergeant I needed to have,” Kriek told The News-Press in 2000. “I’ve always needed someone to strong-arm me. I was a loose cannon. I was strong mentally, but I also was pretty much a maniac, a Jekyll and Hyde. I needed a stern guide not just technically. And that’s a hard thing. You can’t kill the line and douse the fire, but you have to keep the edge on.” He’s a great friend and that was very important because there’s a delicate balance between being a friend and being a schlep.”
National 45s by Mic Huber, sports reporter of the Herald-Times
“Hank Jungle played five national 35-over tournaments in 1975. He won four, and reached the finals in the fifth event to earn No. 2 ranking in the division. Jungle then went underground and didn’t surface again in a tournament until he entered the
USTA National Men Clay Court Championships being played this week at Sarasota’s Bath and Racquet Club.
Jungle’s back and looking strong. When he’s not busy renewing many old acquaintances, Jungle is out on the court ripping through opponents like he’s never been away. Tuesday, Jungle sacked Carmen Elie of Winchester, Mass 6-1, 6-2 and Wednesday the mustachioed 46-year old heavy hitter dismantled St. Petersburg’s Gardner Gould 6-1, 6-1. To reach today’s third round against second-seeded Russell Seymour.
But when you spend your day hitting against the likes of a top professional like Johan Kriek, playing in the 45s must seem like a vacation for our arm.”
Jungle always enjoyed coaching, whether with pros or amateurs, whether it was junior or seniors.
Hank Jungle said, “ My ultimate reward is when people come to me, they have goals and I help them reach their goals. You see it in their eyes. That’s my turn-on,”
Colonel Hank Jungle enriched the lives of all who knew him. We’ll miss you, Hank.
Henry Jungle died on October 9, 2008. Pat Jungle, his wife for 49 years, said he died at home. “It was very peaceful.” “He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999, and it had spread to his bones.” He was still able to function. He was able to give lessons until the day he died. He was on the courts at the Cypress Lake Country Club until 4pm the day before he died.
A Special Thank You to Pat Jungle for her contribution to this Memoriam.