At a glittering evening last week in Greenwich, US Squash President and CEO Kevin Klipstein honored Brunswick School Head Coach Jim Stephens as the US Squash nominated 2014 United States Olympic Committee National Coach of the Year. The occasion was the eighty-fifth annual Father & Son Dinner at Brunswick School. More than 600 people were in attendance, including the keynote speaker, Apolo Anton Ohno, the short track speed skater and eight-time Olympic Games medalist.
The head coach at Brunswick School since 1986, Jim Stephens is one of America’s leading high school coaches. In his thirty seasons he has compiled a record of 375-67. During his tenure, the Bruins have won thirteen New England Interscholastic Squash Association championships, including one last month. Stephens also endured very hard luck in the High School Nationals—losing six times in the finals and in 2013 his heavily favored squad was unable to compete when a blizzard led to the cancellation of the event—but last month his squad finally won the title with a 4-3 win over Belmont Hill. Thus, Brunswick is the first boys school to win both the national title and the New England title in the same year.
With his famous brand of humility, purposeful mentorship and humor, Stephens has impressed two generations of players with the importance of leadership. A year ago, six Brunswick alumni were captains of their college’s men’s team. In addition, he has taught many outstanding players at Brunswick, including future collegiate All Americans like Alexis Miron ‘89 (Dartmouth), Michael Bourke ’96 (Williams) and Will Broadbent ’02 (Harvard), as well as current Penn standout Hayes Murphy ’14 and Team USA member David Yacobucci ’16.
Stephens is a math teacher at Brunswick. His remarkable career as a squash coach includes leading the Brunswick team for fifteen seasons without actual squash courts of their own—the Stephens Squash Center, with nine courts, was only built in 2000. (Before that, he had to borrow courts from a variety of Greenwich clubs.)
Since 1998 US Squash has given out the USOC National Coach of the Year to a coach who has exhibited leadership, excellence, character development and mentoring at the highest level. Jim Stephens is the first high school team coach to be honored.