Dan Rivkind, a member of the Columbia University Tennis Family for over 45 years, passed away peacefully in his home on the evening of December 30.
A star player for Brooklyn College, Rivkind won numerous tournaments prior to his graduation in 1951, before being inducted into the Brooklyn College Athletics Hall of Fame. During his younger years, he became friends with former Wimbledon and Australian Open Champion Dick Savitt, who the Columbia tennis center is named after today.
“Dan was a person who really loved tennis, had a tremendous passion for the game, and loved everything that the game stood for,” Savitt said. “He has been a special friend for over 70 years and I will miss him very much.”
In the early 1970s, Dan became the Director of the Columbia Tennis Center until his retirement in 1999. Along with this, he was the junior varsity coach and varsity assistant to Columbia head coaches Butch Seewagen, Paul Gerken, and Bid Goswami. Dan was a mainstay at the Columbia home matches, and could often be seen following the team on the road.
Goswami, the Columbia Tennis Alumni and Friends Head Coach of Men’s Tennis, had his own personal thought on Rivkind, who was a dear friend to him and the program.
“I was very fortunate to have known Dan. He was the junior varsity coach when I first came to Columbia and he was also helping me with the varsity team. Dan took a liking to me from my first day and that liking and caring did not leave until his last breath. When I got the Columbia job back in 1982, I had no prior college coaching experience and I did not play college tennis in the United States, so everything was new to me. Dan took me under his wing and helped me with everything. He was very protective of me. I found out very early that if Dan liked you, he would do anything for you. I was one of those lucky ones. I couldn’t do anything wrong in his book. That friendship lasted 36 years and I cannot imagine what I would have done without him. Dan was as genuine and loyal of a person as you would ever want to meet. Knowing Dan is definitely one of the highlights of my life. I will miss him immensely. He was at every home match for the last 35 years. He was there in our big wins and tough losses and he always had something encouraging to say to me and the boys. I will miss his smile and his firm handshake. This is a big loss for the entire Columbia community. Thank you, Dan.”