Courtesy of muscosportsphotos.com

After 38 years at Yale, men’s and women’s squash head coach Dave Talbott announced his retirement on Monday.

Talbott was appointed the men’s squash coach in 1983 and led the Bulldogs to his first of three Collegiate Squash Association national championships on the men’s side in 1989. Talbott was appointed the women’s head squash coach in 2004 after former Yale women’s squash head coach Mark Talbott — his brother — departed for Stanford. Dave Talbott had an immediate impact on the women’s team, leading them to two CSA national championships in his first two seasons at the helm. Talbott will leave his position on Jan. 31 after coaching his teams to a total of six CSA national championships and eight Ivy League championships. On Feb. 1, current men’s and women’s squash associate head coach Lynn Leong will begin serving as interim head coach.

“The fact that I had the opportunity to be head coach and develop the squash program for 38 years at Yale is absolutely amazing,” Talbott wrote in a statement to Yale Athletics. “I have had an incredible experience here with the best players and most accomplished student-athletes from around the world.”

While Talbott’s accolades speak for themselves, players and colleagues told the News that the longtime coach’s impact on the people around him extends far beyond the stat sheets.

“Being on court with [Talbott] always reminded me of how much I love squash,” Yale women’s squash captain Aishwarya Bhattacharya ’21 told the News. “He inspired student-athletes both on and off the court and always put our well-being first. He has poured his heart and soul into this program for 38 years and has been instrumental [in] making Yale squash into what it is today.”

Harrison Gill ’22, captain of the men’s team, added that Talbott’s passion for the sport is “infectious,” and that Talbott’s love for the game became instilled in the student-athletes who played for him.

Talbott was inducted into the College Squash Association Hall of Fame in 2019, for his teams’ achievements on the court and his “contributions to the college game off the court.” Michelle Quibell ’06, a member of Talbott’s 2005 and 2006 national championship teams and a fellow 2019 CSA Hall of Fame inductee, told the News that Talbott has left a permanent impact on both the Yale squash program and the greater squash community.

Talbott addresses the Amherst and Yale squads before a match in January 2020. (Courtesy of muscosportsphotos.com)

“Dave has defined Yale Squash for decades and leaves a remarkable legacy at Yale with multiple titles, a world class facility and a meaningful urban squash program in New Haven,” Quibell said. “More importantly, he leaves a permanent imprint on the community and the lives of all the players he touched as he exemplified several values weaved throughout his coaching: passion, good sportsmanship, loyalty, dedication, hard work, humor and humility. I feel so blessed to have played for him, to have shared a Hall of Fame induction together and to call him a mentor, coach and friend.”

New Haven youth have also benefited from Talbott’s mentorship. Talbott is the chair of the Squash Committee at Squash Haven, a squash and education program that seeks to develop players through their academics, athletics and character, according to the program’s website.

Current associate head coach Leong, who has worked with Talbott since 2017, said that Talbott’s mentorship has taught her humility and patience, as well as how to work well with others. Leong added that Talbott helped her learn to “love coaching.”

Talbott embraces last year’s women’s squash captain Lucy Beecroft ’20 after her match against Stanford on February 21, 2020. (Courtesy of muscosportsphotos.com)

“It’s not just a job,” Leong said. “It really is a passion.”

Yale Athletics announced that a national search for Talbott’s replacement will begin in the spring. Leong expressed interest in being hired to fill Talbott’s position long-term.

In his statement to Yale Athletics, Talbott said the friendships he has formed and the support he has received has made his time at Yale “the best” and expressed optimism for the program’s future.

Bhattacharya said that the team will continue to build off of the base that Talbott provided and strive to take the Yale squash team to “greater heights.”

“It’s been an honor to play for DT,” Bhattacharya said.

James Richardson | james.richardson@yale.edu