Planet Princeton

Bob Callahan, U.S. Squash Hall of Famer, Dies at 59

Bob Callahan. Photo by Beverly Schaefer courtesy of Princeton University Athletic Communications.
Bob Callahan. Photo by Beverly Schaefer courtesy of Princeton University Athletic Communications.

Bob Callahan, the man who laid the foundation for Princeton Squash over four decades, died Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the age of 59 following a three-year battle with brain cancer.

Callahan, a 2012 inductee into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame, produced championships as both an undergraduate standout and throughout his 32-year tenure as head coach. He played on three national title teams, including his senior year when he captained the Tigers to an undefeated season in 1976-77.

After four years away from the program, Callahan returned as head coach in 1981. He led Princeton to 314 victories, 11 Ivy League titles, and national championships in 1982, 1993 and 2012. The final title, which came one week before his cancer diagnosis, was among the most historic matches ever played at the collegiate level; Princeton, which started two players on the current squad, ended a 13-year championship run by Trinity during a memorable 5-4 victory.

Callahan also coached the individual national champion 10 times, including all four titles for Yasser El-Halaby of the class of 2006; no other men’s player in collegiate squash has ever won four national championships. His final champion, Todd Harrity, class of 2013, is currently playing professionally and is ranked among the Top 70.

The head squash coaching position at Princeton is named for Callahan and was established by a group of Princeton squash alumni and friends to honor his legacy.

Callahan coached the five sons he raised in Princeton with his wife, Kristen: Greg, Class of 2005; Tim, Class of 2007; Scott, Class of 2009; and twins Peter and Matt, Class of 2011.

Editor’s note: Planet Princeton will post funeral arrangements when they are announced.

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Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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