Hall of Fame Induction: 2016
Gambino was an outstanding junior tennis player growing up in Matawan, NJ and played number 1 singles and doubles for Arizona State University. A professional career in tennis was in his future until a serious car accident during his senior year broke his shoulder and wrist and ended that ambition.
John Milbank introduce Chis to platform tennis in 1996 at the Navesink Country Club in NJ and just four years later Chris, teamed with Gerri Viant, won the 2000 Mixed Nationals . That same year with partner David Ohlmuller he was a finalist in the Men's Nationals and followed that up by winning in 2001 and 2003 and being a finalist in 2004. As testament to his skill level he won the 2012 Men's with Drew Broderick and they were finalists in 2014.
Chris was especially noted for his sportsmanship on court, despite a fierce competitive streak, and his low-key, soft-spoken modesty off it.
Chris Gambino might have been the best junior tennis player to come out of New Jersey. He was #1 in the USTA Eastern U.S. Boys 12′s, 14,’s, 16′s, and 18′s. By his senior year, Chris was recognized by Arizona State after winning the New Jersey State Singles title.
At ASU, Chris had wins over Todd Martin, John Stark, Alex Obrien, and Brian McPhie and took Pete Sampras to three sets both times they met. Chris was on his way to the pros until a car accident ended his tennis career with a broken shoulder and wrist. Chris was a senior at the time.
Five years later, in 1996, John “The Stork” Milbank introduced Chris to platform tennis at the Navesink Country Club in New Jersey and he made dramatically improvements each season thereafter, culminating with the Mixed Nationals in 2000 over John Milbank and Bobo Mangan Delany and the first of three Men’s Open National Championship in 2001 with partner David Ohlmuller.