By Kevin Klipstein, President & Chief Executive Officer
In talking with people in the squash community, I often find it helpful to remind them where US Squash was just a decade ago. We were a much smaller organization, with one-fifth the budget, and only four very dedicated employees. The U.S. Open was licensed to a third party promoter, and National Championships were locally run by volunteers. College, high school, urban and professional squash were, in effect, separate and distinct communities. Entire categories of events did not exist.
Eight years ago the staff shrank to two as we moved to New York. We hired Conor O’Malley and Bill Buckingham in the span of a month, and their first task was to help with the move. Having founded MetroSquash, the remarkably successful urban squash program in Chicago, and a visionary retail and instructional video startup called Pure Squash, the expectations for Conor were high.
Passionate about squash, and the quality of events, Conor drove the growth and development of our three signature events—the two largest squash events in the world (the U.S. Junior Open and U.S. High Schools), and the U.S. Open. He also managed our National Team for years, an often thankless role with innumerable details to pull together to field a successful squad.
Knowing that it is not enough to preach squash to the converted, Conor pushed the U.S. Open and pro squash in the U.S. to the point where we now have the attention of the Tennis Channel, starting our climb up the media ladder. Beyond all of these accomplishments, however, is perhaps his most enduring legacy of community building. More than anyone, Conor fostered relationships across squash and has helped create a far more collaborative and cooperative foundation on which we will continue to build.
And, as he moves on to new challenges outside the squash world at the end of this summer, this spirit will endure, as will his most memorable line, stated early and often during his time at US Squash—“Just because balls were hit and scores were recorded doesn’t mean it was a good event.” Indeed.