Grady Mathews (January 3, 1943 in San Antonio, Texas – April 18, 2012), also known as "The Professor", was an American pool player and was the first inductee into the One-Pocket Hall of Fame, in 2004.
Mathews promoted pocket billiards throughout his career, particularly the game of one-pocket. He was the creator of the Legends of One-Pocket tournament series and promoter of many other tournaments. In addition to success at the table, he has been a technical advisor to movie producers, a regular commentator on pool matches taped by Accu-Stats Video Productions, a producer of billiard instructional video tapes, and an pool journalist and author. He was also a notable instructor and coach.
He survived his wife Randi, who died August 7, 2009.
He lived in Columbia, South Carolina and managed his pool room, Grady's Billiards. He is survived by two children, Marie and Grady IV. Marie lives in Tampa with her husband and child, and is pursuing a medical degree. His son Grady IV is finishing his PhD in Engineering at the University of South Carolina. Mathews continued to compete professionally, as well as putting on exhibitions, pool clinics, and private lessons throughout the United States until he was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. He died April 18, 2012.
Mathews took up pool in the late 1950s while living in California. When he was 14 years old in San Mateo, Mathews began playing pool at a local bowling alley. When he reached 18, he commuted to nearby San Francisco to watch great pool players of this era, claiming it was very important to watch the game being played by those who know how. He took his game on the road in the 1960s and graduated to become a top player in straight pool, nine-ball, one-pocket, and bank pool. Straight pool was the game played in most American tournaments before the 1960s, but when television broadcast came to the fore, the shorter game of nine-ball replaced straight pool, and a professional player was required to play all games to survive. The era of straight pool played with clay or mud balls on 5-by-10 tables was replaced by the 4½-by-9's and the plastic balls that are commonly used today.
Over the next 35 years, Mathews captured several major titles in the four forms of the game, although he is best known for his successes in one-pocket.
At the 1984 Busch Open Nine-Ball at Miller Time Billiards in Moline, Illinois, Mathews captured the first-place prize monies as well as a Brunswick Gold Crown pool table, defeating Howard Vickery in the finals.
In December 2005, Grady Mathews competed in the International Pool Tour King of the Hill Shootout in Orlando, Florida, an invitational event consisting of 43 pool players with accomplishments in the discipline of pocket billiards, and was a member of the International Pool Tour.
Mathews, considered a veteran in the pocket billiards industry, promoted and produced the following pool tournaments:
- 1983 All Around Pocket Billiards Open, (Tampa, Florida)
- 1985 Motor City Open, (Detroit, Michigan)
- 1990 and 1991, Legends of One-Pocket Championship, (Columbia, South Carolina)
- 1991 Legends of One-Pocket Championship, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
- 1993 Legends of One-Pocket Championship, (Reno, Nevada)
- 1994 Legends of One-Pocket Championship, (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
- 1995 The Maine Event 14.1 Championship, (Portland, Maine)
- 1995 Legends of One-Pocket Championship, (Olathe, Kansas)
- 1995 Back Pocket Nine-Ball Open, (Hampton, Virginia)
- 1998 Legends of One-Pocket Championship, (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
- 1999 World One-pocket Championship, (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
- 1999 Seniors Nine-ball Championship, (Portland, Maine)
- 2000 World One-Pocket Championship, (Portland, Maine)
- 2003 Seniors Nine-ball Championship, (Naples, Florida)
- 2004 Gulf Coast Classic, (Gulfport, Mississippi)
Mathews is also well known for his work as a commentator on numerous matches recorded by Accu-Stats Video Productions, and has produced many of his own instructional videos providing strategies that have made Mathews "the most feared one-pocket player in the world. Up until his death, he wrote a monthly instruction column for InsidePOOL Magazine and has been a contributing writer to other pool periodicals such as Billiards Digest, 1984-1987, The Snap Magazine, 1989-1991, and The National Billiard News.
In 1986, Mathews played the character "Dud" with Paul Newman and Tom Cruise in Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-winning film The Color of Money, loosely based on the novel by Walter Tevis (the sequel to The Hustler).
- 1983 Red's Open One-pocket (Houston, Texas)
- 1984 World One-pocket
- 1984 River City Open One-pocket (Austin, Texas)
- 1984 Busch World Nine-ball (Moline, Illinois)
- 1985 Red's Open One-pocket (Houston, Texas)
- 1995 Legends of One-pocket (Olathe, Kansas)
- Grady Mathews, One-Pocket Hall of Fame, 2004. Retrieved May 19, 2007
- "Grady's Grad School," InsidePOOL Magazine, page 18, December 2005
- Grady's Billiards
- "Player Profiles", by Elaine Smith and Benny Conway, page 47, Snap Magazine. Retrieved August 4, 2007
- "Rack 'em Up with Grady 'The Professor' Mathews", by Steve Booth, OnePocket.org
- "It's Mathews at Busch Open Nine-ball," page 6, The National Billiard News, November 1984. Retrieved May 18, 2007
- International Pool Tour Player Bio Retrieved May 19, 2007
- Page 3, The National Billiard News, February 1986. Retrieved May 19, 2007
- Internet Movie Database Inc. (1990-2007). "Grady Mathews, Actor", at IMDb. Retrieved May 19, 2007.
- Internet Movie Database Inc. (1990-2007). "The Color of Money" at IMDb. Retrieved May 19, 2007