WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Catholic University Athletics Department is deeply saddened by the passing of Marty Dowd '60. Inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014, he served as the Cardinals' head men's tennis coach for 53 years from 1962-2015.
Dowd retired as the men's tennis coach at Catholic following the 2014-15 season after 44 winning seasons and a career record of 562-374 (.600). He remains the longest-tenured head coach in the history of Catholic athletics and owns the second-most wins.
"This is a terrible loss, not just to the Dowd family, but to the Catholic University community and specifically, our Athletics Department," said Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Sean Sullivan. "Marty was perhaps appreciated for more than simply being a tremendous coach. His kindness, warmth, gentle spirit, love of his family and deep commitment to the humane growth of his student-athletes, made him unique, especially in this increasingly demanding world of competitive athletics. His heart was always in the right place. I can unequivocally say that I personally came away from any interaction with Marty, feeling better, feeling happier. And I imagine he did this for so many others as well."
Dowd led the men's tennis team to a Landmark Conference title on April 27, 2014 as the Cardinals knocked off top-seeded Juniata, 5-4. As a result, the team made its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Men's Tennis Championship. He was twice named Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Coach of the Year in 1994 and 2000 and still ranks third among all-time men's tennis coaches in the CAC with 114 wins and a .666 winning percentage (114-57).
Dowd coached over 500 student-athletes at Catholic, 56 all-conference selections, including 32 in the CAC and 24 in the Landmark, and four Harris Cup winners. George Mestre was named CAC Player of the Year in 1992 and 1993 while Juan Carlos Barraza was selected CAC Player of the Year in 1994. In 2010, Daniel Valverde was named Landmark Conference Player and Rookie of the Year. In addition, Brian Bradley ranks eighth in the Landmark for career singles wins with 52 from 2010-14.
"Marty made a substantial impression on me of immeasurable consequence to my career in coaching and teaching," said Richard Bausch '79, who played for Dowd and was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
Dowd's final match as head coach came on April 18, 2015 against Merchant Marine at home in a Landmark Conference contest. It was his 78th birthday.
The second of five children, Dowd was born in 1937. He attended Mackin High School in D.C., before attending Catholic University where he majored in art, captained the men's tennis team for two seasons and was the sports editor of the student newspaper. He served in the United States Coast Guard reserve and worked as a medical illutrator at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology before retiring in 2003 after 42 years of service.
While at Catholic, Dowd met his wife, Jone, and the two were married in 1965. The couple had four children, Dana, Jennifer, Michael and Tara, and all three daughters played women's tennis for the Cardinals. Michael received a scholarship to play men's tennis at Division I George Washington.
Jone, who was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994, initiated the athletic department's first programs for women and coached many of Catholic's women's teams including basketball and tennis. She was the athletic department's Senior Woman Administrator and was the women's tennis program's only coach for the first 34 years of its existence, amassing 274 wins. She coached women's tennis until the end of the 1995-96 season.
On Dec. 18, 2007, former Catholic University president, Father David M. O'Connell, presented Martin and Jone Dowd with the President's Medal, the university's highest honor, which recognizes individuals who share the vision and exemplify the ideals of Catholic University.
The tennis courts were renamed The Jone and Martin Dowd Tennis Courts on Oct. 3, 2015 to recognize the significant impact that both Marty and Jone had on the men's and women's tennis programs at Catholic.
"Marty was a good and gentle man immensely proud of his children and five grandchildren and devoted to Jone, his wife of 53 years," said brother Kevin Dowd. "He had a full and wonderful life. My mother used to say, 'you never die if you are remembered.' He will be remembered."