By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)
Bumping into Jack Herrick at squash tournaments in different parts of the world was always a pleasure.
His smiling, friendly presence lit up the day as we discussed the state of the game at every level.
Jack was a guiding light for US Squash and the PSA, and his kind, thoughtful management skills were greatly admired by all who knew him.
A passionate supporter of the game, he steered both bodies through some challenging episodes and left a lasting legacy in his home town of Cleveland with the Jack Herrick Youth Fund.
Surrounded by his family, he passed away peacefully on Tuesday this week (October 25) aged 84 after a lifetime of love and devotion to racquet sports.
US Squash posted the following tribute:
A Cleveland native and junior tennis phenom, Jack captained and played #1 on the squash team Dartmouth before graduating in 1960. He was the chair of the Friends of Dartmouth Squash from 1986 to 2001 and led the campaign for Dartmouth’s innovative squash facility which opened in 1987.
An avid player for decades, Jack won dozens of Cleveland, Northeast Ohio and Ohio state championships in singles and doubles and in 1983 he triumphed in the 45+ division at the World Masters in New Zealand, becoming the first American to win a world singles title.
Jack was a leading administrator for a half century. He was the head of Cleveland’s squash association, Great Lakes regional district association, Western Squash Association and was a longtime member of the board of US Squash, serving on numerous committees including the national tournament schedule committee (which he chaired), sponsorship, nominating and referees and acting as assistant secretary.
From 1982 to 1984 Herrick was the president of US Squash. During his tenure, he ushered the American game into a new era: he started the softball National Singles, committed US Squash money and effort to junior development for the first time, established the Association’s first endowment fund (he was the first person to donate to it), supported the move from wooden to graphite racquets, computerized national rankings, expanded corporate sponsorship and created the first nationwide referee certification system. In 1988, he received the President’s Cup, US Squash’s highest annual award.
Jack was one of the most influential Americans ever in global squash. In the 1980s he was the U.S. men’s team manager at the World Championships four times, was a member of several World Squash Federation committees and served as commissioner of WPSA hardball tour from 1988 to 1993.
From 1994 to 2008 he was the chair of the board of the PSA men’s pro squash tour, traveling more than a million air miles to play a central role in the development of the game around the world. During his fourteen years as chair, the PSA expanded in every metric, increasing prize money seven-fold, and more than doubling the number of tournaments and players.
Jack was honored numerous times for his squash contributions: in 1986 he was inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, in 1993 into the College Squash Association’s Hall of Fame and in 2012 into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame. “In squash the most important part of the swing is the follow-through,” Kevin Klipstein, the President and CEO of US Squash, said at Jack’s induction ceremony in 2012, “and Jack, your follow-through has been flawless over the past four decades.”
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 12 at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio to be followed by a reception at the Cleveland Skating Club in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Memorial gifts may be made to the Jack Herrick Youth Sports Fund at the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, 2001 Crocker Road, Suite 510, Westlake, OH 44145, or the Jack Herrick Youth Sports Fund tab at www.clevelandsportshall.com
The PSA posted this report:
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) would like to extend its sympathies to the family of former PSA Chairman Jack Herrick after he sadly passed away yesterday (Tuesday October 25) at the age of 84.
Jack served with distinction as PSA Chairman between 1994-2008, during which time he played a central role in increasing prize money seven-fold, whilst the number of tournaments on the PSA Tour more than doubled under his stewardship.
In addition to his service to the professional game, Jack was an influential figure in the sport in the United States. As well as serving on the Board of US Squash, Jack was named President in 1982 and held the position until 1984. Jack played a key role in the development of the junior game in the United States during his tenure and in 2012 was inducted into the US Squash Hall of Fame.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday November 12 at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
“Jack’s incredible support of all things squash was unwavering for well over half a century,” said PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough.
“He had so much influence on every aspect of the game in the U.S. and then steered the PSA Board for 14 years, continuing to be a regular at PSA events well after his time on the Board. He will be sorely missed and the thoughts of everyone at the PSA, as well as the thoughts of our players, go to his wife, Mary, and his family at this very sad time.”
Picture courtesy of U.S. Squash