Kentucky Derby

Dinny Phipps finally won the Derby. The Phipps have been legendary thoroughbred racing family and after well more than a century in the game have finally won the highest prize in U.S. racing.

But they are well known in racquets sports circles. Ogden, Dinny’s father,  played squash at Harvard under Harry Cowles and captained the team his senior year, 1931; he won seven U.S. amateur singles and nine U.S. amateur doubles titles in court tennis and three times challenged for the world championship. He was an uncle to Pete and Jimmy Bostwick, racquet sport giants.

Dinny played squash (#2 on ladder) and tennis at Yale. In court tennis, he won four U.S. Open doubles titles and seven U.S. amateur doubles titles.

Virginia Is For [Squash] Lovers

These past few weeks I’ve been helping the University of Virginia prepare some displays for the halls of their new squash facility at the Boar’s Head which is opening this weekend: nine singles (including a huge four-wall glass showcourt) and two (!) doubles. Is this now the best squash facility at any college in the world? Perhaps.

I put together a timeline of the history of Virginia squash. Some highlights:

—First courts in the state: at Episcopal High School, 1927.

—Lady Nancy Astor, the first woman to be a Member of Parliament, donated two courts to UVA in the early 1930s.

—Victor Elmaleh, national doubles champions, was class of 1942 at UVA.

—Price-Bullington Invitational started in 1970 in Richmond originally as a adult men’s amateur event.

—VSRA founded in 1971 by one of the great names in squash: Salty Hawkins.

—The Boar’s Head opened original courts in 1971 (three singles, one doubles).

—UVA started its club teams a decade ago: (men in 2001, women in 2003).

—Woodberry Forest first built courts in 1988; they opened a nine-court facility in 2005

—Richmond’s men’s pro singles tournament became the North American Open in 2009