OUTSTANDING NAMES IN DAYTON SQUASH
Dr. Doug Talbott
After completing his medical studies in the mid-1950s, Dr. Doug Talbott returned to Dayton and won the Dayton City tournament many times. He was on the board of the U.S. Squash Racquets Association, the first Daytonian so to serve, and he organized play between Dayton teams and those in other cities. ‘Doc,’ as he is known among friends, started the modern era of Dayton squash and in recent years has become a fixture in the Atlanta squash program. In 2002 he was the first recipient of the Dayton Squash Racquets Association Lifetime Achievement Award. He received a similar award from the U.S. Squash Racquets Association in the same year.
Dr. Talbott’s two sons, Mark and Dave Talbott, began playing squash as youngsters on the court in their home on Runnymede Road, with their father as their first coach. Mark was later coached by Bo Burbank at Mercersburg Academy, where he graduated in 1978. He spent a year at Trinity College in Hartford, CT before beginning his remarkable squash odyssey. In 1980 at age 20, Mark joined the newly established World Professional Squash Association hardball tour and a year later reached the top 10. In 1983 he climbed to No. 1 and held that ranking for 11 of the next 12 seasons. From 1981 through 1985, he reached the semi-finals or finals in 95% of the tournaments he entered; he won over 70% of them, including 23 in a row.
“He was the greatest player in the history of American squash not because he occasionally touched greatness but because in an era of unprecedented competition, pressure and challenge, he was greatness,” wrote James Zug about Mark in a 2003 book, Squash: A History of the Game.
In 1998 Mark was named coach of the Yale women’s team, which, in 2003-04, went 14-0 and won the national, Ivy League, and Howe Cup championships, the triple crown of women’s collegiate squash. He has since become director of the squash program at Stanford and coach of both the men’s and women’s teams. He is a member of the Squash Hall of Fame.
Mark’s older brother Dave Talbott compiled a 269-62 won-lost record as head coach of the Yale men’s team from the 1983-84 season, his first, through the 2003-04 season, his 21st, a winning percentage of .810. The men won 102 matches and lost just 18 from the 1996-97 season through last season, an .850 winning percentage. Yale consistently battles Harvard for Ivy League honors, and Harvard and Trinity for national honors. Dave spent his early career as a club and touring professional, reaching No. 12 in the WPSA North American rankings. In 1989 and 1990 he won the WPSA Legends Championship for players over 35.
Phil Skardon won five titles in three divisions in the All-Ohio Tournament, which he founded in 1965, and was runner-up to Tom Shulman in local tournaments numerous times in the 1970s. He was on the USSRA board, is a long-time officer of the Dayton Squash Racquets Association, and has often captained or co-captained the Dayton team in its annual match against Cincinnati, known as the Collopy Cup, which he helped start. More recent wins are in the 60+ and 70+ divisions in the national Revenge of the Baby Boomers Tournament, held annually at the Dayton Squash Center. Phil received the DSRA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
Tom Shulman has won more titles over more years than any other Dayton player, beginning in the early 1960s and continuing to the present. He won the Dayton Racquet Club A-Division title 18 years in a row and was a regular city champion from the 1960s through the 1980s. He also held six titles in the All-Ohio under-40 division and won the Jacobs Invitational in New York in both of its divisions, the 40+ and 50+. Tom has been nationally ranked every year for more than 40 years. He has also been a Baby Boomers titleholder in the 60+ division. He was the third recipient of the DSRA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.
Chuck Spear has been ranked nationally in several divisions. He consistently competed in the finals against Tom Shulman in the Dayton City and Racquet Club tournaments in the 1980s and 1990s and has won titles in several All-Ohio and more recent Ohio Open divisions. Chuck is also the winner of several divisions in the Baby Boomers Tournament. He has been a member of the USSRA board and the DSRA board. He often organized the Dayton City tournament and has served as captain of the Dayton team in the Collopy Cup. Chuck was chosen to receive the DSRA Lifetime Achievement Award for 2005.
Pat Rini played initially in Dayton but became a nationally ranked player only after moving to Atlanta. Upon his return in the mid-1990s, he laid claim to Best Ohio Player for a half dozen years while leading Dayton players. Besides winning the Ohio Open in several divisions, he has captured the City and Dayton Racquet Club titles. He also represented Dayton in city-to-city matches in the No. 1 slot but now plays a strong No. 2 behind Mark Brady.
Currently Dayton’s leading player, Mark Brady has made quickness pay off. He has won divisional titles in the Baby Boomers tournament as well as in many Ohio tournaments. Besides winning consistently at the local level, he has been a strong contender in the U.S. Nationals and has been nationally ranked
in several age groups. Mark is a partner in EBS Asset Management, which is the principal sponsor of the professional Dayton Open.