Grady ‘The Professor’ Mathews Dies

January 3, 1943 - April 18, 2012

Grady at the tournament chart for his Gulf Coast Classic Tournament in 2004

Grady Frederick Mathews III passed away on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. He was a son of the late Grady F. Mathews, Jr. and Sammie Lois Lynch Mathews. Grady is survived by his daughter, Marie Cram (Thomas); son, Grady Frederick Mathews, IV; grandson, Thomas Cram, Jr.; brothers, Steve Mathews and Vince Mathews; sisters, Karen Taylor and Terry Gary.

They called him ‘The Professor’, but they could just as aptly have called him Mr. One Pocket. It is hard to imagine a model for contributing more to the game of One Pocket than exhibited over the career of Grady Mathews; he has truly been an ambassador to the game.

Grady competing in 1981
Photo courtesy Billie Billing

Born January 3, 1943 in San Antonio, Texas, when Grady was a teenager his family moved to San Mateo, California, just about 25 miles outside of the pool Mecca of San Francisco. Grady was a good natural athlete, but once he got started with pool, that is where he turned his attention. He proved to be an adept student of pool, especially the game of One Pocket, honing his skills at fabled Cochran’s in San Francisco in the early 1960’s before he took to the road.

Just about every great player of that era made appearances at Cochran’s. As Grady tells it, “You had guys there at Cochran’s like ‘Bananas’ Rodriguez. ‘Mexican Phil’ was another one. Those two guys couldn’t run a lot of balls, but boy could they play One Pocket! The young guys like me and Rich Marques and Ronnie Barber and Denny Searcy and ‘One Eyed Hank’; we’d kick shots around, trying different ways to do things. We learned pretty quickly as young people are wont to do. I don’t think you could find a better learning facility than Cochran’s.” Grady actually worked at Cochran’s for a while, until it became clear he could make more money playing pool than he could working.

In the late 60’s, Grady moved to Texas and ended up at another great action room, Le Cue in Houston, frequented by such greats as Jack ‘Jersey Red’ Breit, Danny Jones and ‘Connecticut’Johnny Vevis, the winner of inaugural Johnston City One Pocket tournament.

In 1975 Grady opened his own poolroom in Colorado Springs, CO, which he ran for seven years. It was during this time that Grady’s One Pocket game really matured. It was also during this time that he recalls first starting to take notes about the nuances and details of One Pocket – the kind of studying that may have contributed to his moniker, ‘The Professor’.

  • A bearded ‘Professor’ photographed at one of the Red’s tournaments in ’83 or ’84
    Photo courtesy Bill Porter

  • In his role of Master of Ceremonies for the One Pocket Hall of Fame, Grady congratulates inductee and old friend Billy Incardona

Those notes certainly contributed to his wealth of knowledge about the game, and over the years Grady really developed his role as teacher, including many years of regular magazine columns, eleven instructional videos on the game, hundreds of exhibitions, clinics and private lessons all over the US – mostly featuring One Pocket.

Grady with tournament winner Ed Kelly
photo courtesy Dennis Wilson

As a tournament player, Grady topped very tough fields to win four major One Pocket tournaments:

• 1983 Red’s Open One Pocket
• 1984 Sid Mann’s World One Pocket
• 1985 Red’s Open One Pocket
• 1995 Olathe, KS Legends of One Pocket

As a One Pocket tournament promoter Grady brought fans of the game 19 major One Pockettournaments spanning twenty years, including his gold standard, Legends of One Pocket. The “Super”One Pocket tournament he and his good friend Richie Florence promoted in 1993 (won by Ed Kelly) featured what to this day is the highest purse for a One Pocket event. Many of his Legends of One Pocket tournaments were filmed by Accu-stats featuring excellent expert commentary, leading to a wide distribution of One Pocket knowledge to a whole new generation of players and fans.

All of this adds up to why Grady was the top vote-getter for our very first One Pocket Hall of Fame election back in 2004. He was the ideal candidate — a great player, great teacher and tireless promoter of the game. Yes, he is ‘The Professor’, but you could also call him ‘Mr. One Pocket.

Thank you, Grady Mathews, for your unsurpassed contribution to the legacy of pool, and especially One Pocket.

View Grady’s Hall of Fame Page Complete Grady Interview