Forty years of squash were honored tonight at the 2013 Delaware Investments U.S. Open, as US Squash’s chief executive officer, Kevin Klipstein, gave a special award to the Berwyn Squash & Fitness Club. On hand were the founder of Berwyn Squash, Paul Monaghan, and the current owner and operator, Dominic Hughes.
Paul Monaghan, 85, built Berwyn Squash in the fall of 1973. It was the first public commercial squash club in the country. An architect, Monaghan designed the first squash courts with modular walls, the first courts with a glass panel for photographers and balconied galleries and the first full-length glass wall. Along with Barclay White, a real estate developer, Monaghan formed a company called SquashCon and, exactly forty years ago this month, opened a four-singles, two-doubles court facility in the Philadelphia suburbs.
SquashCon expanded with two more facilities around Philadelphia and proved to be the pioneering catalyst for commercial clubs around the country as they expanded access to the game. Today, forty percent of squash courts in the U.S. are in public facilities.
Dominic Hughes, 51, has owned and managed the club since the mid-1990s. An Englishman who had coached in Bermuda and Canada, Hughes runs a vibrant and active club of a thousand players. Its six singles and two doubles courts are full all day and evening. In the Monaghan tradition, Hughes recently installed solar panels as Berwyn has gone green. Berwyn has been the home of many pro squash events and U.S. national championships and a training ground for juniors. National champions like Dave McNeely and former Harvard coach Satinder Bajwa got their start at Berwyn, and it has been Hall of Famer Joyce Davenport’s club for nearly all of its forty remarkable years.