Tonight at the FS Investments U.S. Open, Jay Nelson received the 2019 Robert W. Callahan Sportsmanship Award. The honor was presented by Kevin Klipstein, the president and CEO of US Squash. Klipstein joined Kristen Callahan, Matthew Callahan, and Nelson on the ASB GlassCourt. “Winning with grace is a core value of US Squash,” Klipstein said. “And so is losing with grace. Our community values both excellence and sportsmanship.”
Kristen Callahan, the late wife of Bob Callahan, and Matthew Callahan, their son, celebrated the Callahan legacy. Kristen said that sportsmanship was the ultimate hallmark of Callahan’s mentoring. “He was insistent on honest, respectful play.” They then awarded Jay Nelson the 2019 Robert W. Callahan Sportsmanship Award.
Jay Nelson is a legendary masters player, having won thirty-one national age-group singles titles. He was inducted into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame in 2013. “I had good mentoring from Jack Barnaby, my coach at Harvard,” Nelson said. “You have to internalize sportsmanship. I’ve been playing squash for sixty-two years and have learned that you have to continually work at respecting the spirit of the game.”
The Robert W. Callahan Sportsmanship Award was started in 2014. Previous honorees include Ed Chilton, Rich Sheppard, Richard Chin, Mark Talbott, and last year’s honoree Chris Spahr. Bob Callahan was the men’s coach at Princeton for thirty-two years before he died in January 2015 at the age of fifty-nine. His teams won three national titles and more Skillman Awards for collegiate sportsmanship than any other college in the nation. He founded the world’s oldest squash summer camp and in 1998 and directed the World Junior Men’s Championship. Bob Callahan was inducted into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame in the Class of 2011.