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Princeton coach and Episcopal Academy grad Bob Callahan joins Squash Hall of Fame

Bob Callahan wasn't planning to play squash at Princeton until a former Episcopal Academy teammate, David Page, suggested he come out for the team his freshman year.

Bob Callahan wasn't planning to play squash at Princeton until a former Episcopal Academy teammate, David Page, suggested he come out for the team his freshman year.

Page, a junior at the time, was the Princeton captain. Callahan, who had planned to play only tennis at Princeton, gave squash a try.

Since then, he has become one of the most successful participants in the sport as both a player and a coach.

The current head coach of Princeton, Callahan was inducted into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame on Wednesday between matches at the U.S. Open Squash Championships taking place at Drexel through Friday.

"There is a good chance that had David not talked to me about it, I wouldn't have played squash at Princeton," Callahan said. "I wanted to be a hotshot tennis player."

Although he did play tennis at Princeton, Callahan became a hotshot squash player. He originally learned the game at the Cynwyd Club, across from his Bala Cynwyd home.

A 1977 graduate of Princeton, the 57-year-old Callahan captained the Tigers' national championship team his senior year and was a two-time first-team all-American.

After working four years for IBM, Callahan became Princeton's head squash coach in 1981 and is entering his 32d season.

With a 302-63 career record, Callahan guided the Tigers to last season's College Squash Association men's national championship, beating Trinity College in the finals and snapping its 13-year national title streak.

It was the third national title for Callahan as a coach. He also guided Princeton to national championships in 1993 and 1982, along with 10 Ivy League championships.

One person who couldn't be happier about Callahan's success is Page. "He is such a great guy, and this is such a deserving honor," Page said.

Page didn't recall what he said to Callahan to get him to join the team way back then.

"I was just trying to get everybody out for the team," he said with a laugh.

Shortly after the last college season, Callahan was found to have glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor for which he has been undergoing treatments.

Callahan said he was feeling well and was happy to be coaching this season.

"We have a national championship to defend and have a lot of work to do," he said. "It's great to be out there coaching."

As for the Hall of Fame, "I was shocked and absolutely deeply honored to be considered and inducted," Callahan said.

On Monday, Joyce Davenport, winner of two national singles championships, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. She is a graduate of Lower Merion High School and a part-time teacher at the Berwyn Squash and Fitness Club.

Finals on Friday. The U.S. Open continues Thursday with the semifinals at Drexel. The championship matches are set for Friday. For complete results, go to

www.usopensquash.com

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