Pro Tennis player and Indianapolis Racquet Club director Ed Brune dies

INDIANAPOLIS — The day before he died, Ed Brune was at the Indianapolis Racquet Club, helping to put tennis balls away, making sure things were in order.

He had been there, too, in the 1960s when the idea for a glitzy $350,000 indoor tennis facility was just a penciled sketch on an architect’s drawing board. And he was there as the club’s founding tennis director and pro as it opened its doors in October 1965, built on the site of a former gravel pit on Dean Road.

IRC was Brune’s joy. Tennis was his passion. He spent 52 years as the IRC’s director and was a pro there for 56 years. He died Wednesday at 84 after suffering a health issue while on an evening bike ride.

“Every bit of the culture of IRC, every fiber of it has his stamp on it,” said Jamie Dieveney, Brune’s son-in-law and IRC tennis director. “IRC is basically something that he created. Before it was anything, he was there.”

Ed Brune gives lessons to his grandson at the IRC just days before his death.

Brune was the patron of tennis during its magical run in Indianapolis, helping to bring pro tournaments, growing the youth sport and always doing it with a kind word and gentle nature. 

In his mind, even people who didn’t play tennis probably wanted to, Dieveney said. “He would always tell me, ‘People are just sitting at home waiting for someone to ask them to play tennis,'” he said.