Urban Squash History

since 1995

1995 – Two years after writing a graduate student term paper entitled ‘Bringing Squash Down from the Ivory Tower, the Creation of an Urban Squash and Education Program’, former professional squash player Greg Zaff launches SquashBusters in Boston. The after-school program, which serves 28 students from two public middle schools, is the first of its kind to combine the sport of squash with academic tutoring, mentoring and community service activities. With a $75,000 budget and an ‘office’ in Greg’s apartment, SquashBusters runs practices and tutoring sessions at the Boston YMCA, the Harvard Club of Boston, and Harvard University.

1999 – George Polsky, a teacher and social worker and former Harvard squash player, launches StreetSquash in Harlem. The program runs practices out of the Harvard Club of New York and Columbia University… Two SquashBusters students win scholarships to private high schools, the first of many urban squash players to do so.

2000 – A group of Philadelphia squash enthusiasts – Matt Stern, Lisa Stokes, Andy Nehrbas, Pam Ende, Ben Desombre and Fred Guyott – launch SquashSmarts in partnership with Drexel University in West Philadelphia.

2002 – Sanford Schwartz, a squash player and squash parent, starts CitySquash on the Bronx campus of Fordham University, giving the Big Apple a second urban squash program.

2003 – SquashBusters opens the $6 million Badger-Rosen Youth Center, with eight squash courts and three classrooms, on the campus of Northeastern University… Groton School, a boarding school in Groton, MA, hosts the inaugural Urban Individual Nationals. The event draws more than 100 players from the country’s four urban squash programs.

2004 – The inaugural Urban Team Nationals is held in Boston at SquashBusters, drawing students from Boston, Harlem, the Bronx and Philadelphia.

2005 – The leaders of the country’s four urban squash programs — Steve Gregg, George Polsky, Tim Wyant, and Greg Zaff — co-found the National Urban Squash and Education Association in partnership with U.S. SQUASH… Conor O’Malley, a teaching pro in Chicago, founds METROsquash. Based at the University of Chicago, the program is the first outside of the East Coast.

2006 – SquashSmarts’s Tempest Bowden becomes the first urban squash player to qualify for the U.S. Nationals, an event open to the country’s top 32 players.

2007 – Annick Winokur, Pug Winokur and a group of Yale University-affiliated squash supporters launch Squash Haven at Yale in New Haven, CT… Led by Greg Scherman and Chris Walker, a group of San Diego squash enthusiasts start Surf City Squash, now Access Youth Academy, giving the West Coast its first urban squash program … SquashSmarts’s $12 million Lenfest Center, with eight squash courts and three classrooms, opens in North Philadelphia.

Urban Squash History

since 1995

2008 – With Hillary Clinton in attendance, the $9 million S.L. Green StreetSquash Youth Center, with eight courts and four classrooms, opens in Harlem. MileHigh Squash, founded by Greg Courter, launches at the Denver Athletic Club… Assisted by a NUSEA challenge grant, a group of squash players in Baltimore, including Charlie Wise, Nancy Cushman, Peter Heffernan, and Abby Markoe, launch SquashWise at the Meadow Mill Athletic Club.

2009 – Days after being admitted to Cornell University, CitySquash’s Jesse Pacheco finishes 5th in the Under 19 division of the U.S. Open, one of the world’s most competitive junior squash tournaments.

2010 – NUSEA launches Racquet Up, its 10th member program, at the Northwest Activities Center in Detroit… The $1 million renovation of the Fordham University-CitySquash Squash Center is completed.

2011 – NUSEA launches Beyond Walls Twin Cities in Minneapolis – St. Paul… SquashBuster Yuleissy Ramirez begins her freshman year at Harvard University, becoming the first urban squash player to attend the country’s oldest college.

2012 – First Lady Michelle Obama promotes Let’s Move!, her nutrition and health initiative, at SquashSmarts’s Lenfest Center… Access Youth Academy’s Reyna Pacheco is admitted to Columbia University on a Gates Millennium Scholarship… The Santa Barbara School of Squash becomes NUSEA’s 12th member program, and the West Coast’s 2nd… StreetSquash and SquashBusters launch satellite programs, in Newark, NJ and Lawrence, MA respectively… The combined enrollment of NUSEA’s 12 member programs tops 1,000 students.

2013 – Oakland’s SquashDrive, founded by executive director Lauren Patrizio; Urban Squash Cleveland, led by Max Laverty; and StreetSquash Newark, led by Leah Brown, become NUSEA’s 13th, 14th, and 15th members, respectively… The Midwestern Urban Squash Championships, the first major urban squash tournament held outside the northeastern United States, takes place at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio… NUSEA’s International Fund, aimed at developing and engaging urban squash programs abroad, is launched.

2014 – Hartford’s Capitol Squash Re-Launches with 24 4th and 5th graders!