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Intermountain / Colorado

Celebrating Women in Tennis: Pioneer Journalist Dorothy Mauk

USTA Colorado | March 12, 2021

Long before women were permitted in men's locker rooms, Dorothy Mauk became a household name among readers of the Denver Post's sports pages. 


Perhaps viewed as a bit of a token when she began her career in 1966, Mauk proved to be an insightful and well-rounded sports journalist. She even wrote feature pieces on more traditional sports, including a personal favorite about the raucous fans in the South Stands at Mile High Stadium. In a given week, it wasn't uncommon for Mauk to have penned three columns for the Post's sports section.


Originally assigned to cover recreational sports, Mauk chronicled  the Denver Racquets’ run to the World Team Tennis title in 1974, the first pro team championship for the city. She also covered nearly every tennis tournament in Colorado, including the annual United Bank Tennis Classic in the 1970s and early 80s. 


She wrote about the Dynamo, Avalanche and Caribou soccer teams, and the local pro volleyball franchise, the Denver Comets. In addition, she covered figure skating, and followed the careers of Olympic greats Scott Hamilton, Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Fleming. Mauk ultimately covered more than 40 sports on her beat.


Mauk didn't let her limited access to the players get in the way of her narrative. When tennis pros Stan Smith and Ilie Nastase refused to be interviewed, she was resolute, and tough. “I wrote in the story that if Stan Smith didn’t improve his second serve, he wasn’t going to win the tournament,” Mauk recalled. “I said that Nastase was gold at the box office but clunked like lead in the locker room.”


Mauk left in 1982, and channeled her passions into community service. She served on many sports and community boards, held numerous offices, helped found several organizations, and received numerous media and recognition awards. She was in the first female membership class of the Denver Press Club, was the first female member and first female president of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Selection Panel. 


Mauk served on the Colorado Youth Tennis Foundation board of trustees for numerous years. In 1971, USTA Colorado presented her with the inaugural Bud Robineau Award for her longtime contributions to the tennis community. Fittingly, the organization’s annual media excellence award is named in her honor. She was inducted into the Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002. 


She was later elected to the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 for sportswriter. Mauk was a charter member and a 44-year board member of the Sportswomen of Colorado which annually presents the Dorothy Mauk Pioneer Award in her honor.


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