Paul Assaiante Named Head National Coach
A $2 million gift to establish the Ganek Family US Squash Head National Coach Fund was announced by US Squash President and CEO Kevin Klipstein.
“This is the largest gift in the 110-year history of our organization, ” said Klipstein, “and marks a truly transformational moment for US Squash to hire a head national coach for the first time. This gift is made even more meaningful coming from a couple who are passionate, long-standing members of the squash community, Danielle and David Ganek.”
Klipstein also confirmed that Paul Assaiante, the winningest coach in college sports history, who has served in a volunteer capacity for nearly a decade as the head national coach for US Squash, steps into the role on a formal part-time basis as the Ganek Family US Squash Head National Coach.
“We are so pleased that Coach Assaiante has agreed to serve in this key position, ” said Klipstein. “As head national coach, Paul will accelerate the recent progress made in the development of the national team program.”
Klipstein noted that the establishment of this new role is timely given this week’s announcement from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to open future Games to more sports, removing the current 28-sport cap while maintaining the 10, 500 athlete maximum currently in place for the Summer Olympics.
“There is now a real opportunity for squash to be considered for the 2020 Olympic Games, ” Klipstein said. “A head national coach is critical to pursuing this longtime goal of Olympic participation.”
The Ganeks are longtime supporters of squash, including urban squash and US Squash, and are passionate about the game. David Ganek started playing squash as a schoolboy when he picked up the game under the charismatic pro Mohammed Husain. In high school, Ganek was planning to wrestle, but fell in love with squash instead and continued playing for four years at Franklin & Marshall College—where he met his wife, Danielle, who also played squash. Ganek was in the vanguard of a men’s squash resurgence at F&M, as the team vaulted from twenty-fifth in the nation his freshman year to third his senior year. Ganek captained the team that year, played as high as No. 2 and led the team to historic wins over rivals including Princeton, Yale and Penn.
“Paul is the ideal choice for this important coaching role that I hope will elevate the US’s standing in the international world of squash, ” Ganek said. “Squash has played an important role in our lives, and after playing for so many years, this is now an exciting way to continue a growing involvement in a sport we love.”
“Paul has been an enormous innovator, helping transform collegiate squash with international players, ” Ganek continued. “I remember meeting him for the first time in 1981 when I competed against his West Point team as a member of F&M’s team. He was great leader then. Now he is innovating again to raise the American game. It is exciting to have such a proven winner at the helm. I look forward to working closely with Paul and US Squash in the coming years. ”
News of the endowment gift, which establishes what is currently the only known endowed coaching position among the more than four dozen sports that are members of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), was welcome news to Jon Denney, Chief Development Officer of the USOC.
“Gifts of any size are extremely important to the ongoing success of Team USA, and a donation of this magnitude will have a deep impact on the athletes of US Squash, ” Denney said. “We commend US Squash for its efforts to identify new sources of funding and are grateful for generous individuals like the Ganeks, who are crucial to helping our athletes achieve their dreams.”
“The Ganeks’ support will allow the national team program to reach new heights for generations to come, ” commented Klipstein. “Our ten-year goal is to have our teams and athletes always on the podium, regardless of the competition—in the Worlds, Pan American Games, or Olympic Games.”
“David’s longstanding involvement has continually provoked new thoughts and ideas, pushing us to reach higher and further, ” continued Klipstein. “We are so fortunate to have the entire Ganek family as partners in this journey, and we can’t thank them enough for their vision, commitment and leadership.”
“I sincerely appreciate the commitment Danielle and David have made to the future of American squash through their foundation, ” Assaiante said. “This support is invaluable to US Squash and will help us produce top American players on a scale to match the traditional world leaders. This new role for me provides a pathway to locate and develop talent to reach their fullest potential. ”