Squash

Squash became an intercollegiate sport at Princeton in 1929, and within the first five years of competition the University had produced undefeated teams in 1931 and 1932 as well as the 1933 intercollegiate individual champion and the runner-up, William G. Foulke II '34 and his classmate Sheldon Stephens. Six years later Princeton had another champion -- Stanley W. Pearson, Jr. '41.

John Conroy, who became coach in 1940, said his major problem was making undergraduates understand that squash was something else besides ``a vegetable they don't like.'' Judging by his thirty-year won-lost record (184-69 for a winning percentage of .727), the problem was not insoluble. His teams won national championships in dual meet competition in 1942, 1943, and 1955 (finishing second in 1960, 1964, ~and 1965), and in post-season tournaments in 1959 and 1960 (finishing second in 1961).

Seven national collegiate individual championships were won by Princeton players during Conroy's years: in 1941 and 1942 by Charles M. Brinton '42, in 1954 and 1955 by Roger Campbell '55, and in 1959, 1960, and 1961 by Stephen T. Vehslage '61 -- first three-time winner in the history of the championship. Princeton's first national intercollegiate doubles championship was won in 1953 by Charles Warner '53 and Benjamin F. Edwards III '53.

Conroy retired at the end of the 1969 season. He was succeeded by his assistant coach, William M. Summers, who in turn was succeeded, in the fall of 1974, by David A. Benjamin, a former squash star and tennis captain at Harvard.

Varsity squash continued to flourish in the seventies after the move from the old courts at Dillon to the new ones in Jadwin, which the New York Times called ``the nation's finest squash facilities.'' From 1975 through 1978, Princeton squash teams led by Coach Dave Benjamin achieved one of the most impressive four-year records in Princeton athletic history. In dual meet competition they won the nine-man national championship with undefeated seasons in 1975, 1977, and 1978, and placed second in 1976 to Harvard, which gave Princeton its only defeat in four years. In the post-season intercollegiate championship tournaments, Princeton won the six-man team title in 1976 and again in 1978 -- the first time Princeton won both championships in the same year.

In addition to their success in intercollegiate competition, Princetonians have won the men's national championship eight times: Donald Strachan '31 in 1935 and 1939; Charles M. Brinton '42 in 1941, 1942, 1946, and 1947; Stanley W. Pearson, Jr. '41 in 1948; Stephen T. Vehslage '61 in 1965. Princeton alumni were also men's national doubles champions three years running: Strachan and Brinton in 1946, Pearson and David McMullin '30 in 1947, Brinton and Pearson in 1948.

WOMEN'S SQUASH

Women's teams, coached by six-time national champion Betty Constable, earned an A+ in their early years. Undefeated in 1972, their first season, they captured four successive national collegiate championships from 1973 through 1976, won a fifth in 1978, and produced five national collegiate champions -- Wendy Zaharko '74 in 1972, 1974, and 1975; Sally Fields '73 in 1973; and Nancy Gengler '78 in 1976.


From Alexander Leitch, A Princeton Companion, copyright Princeton University Press (1978).

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