Darwin P. Kingsley, III, the executive director of US Squash from 1974 to 1992, died on Sunday, April 7 at the age of ninety-one.
Kingsley grew up in and around New York City in an avid squash family. His father, Darwin, Jr., was chairman of the board of US Squash, as later was his younger brother Charlie. Kingsley played at Rockaway Hunting Club, where he was a club champion and at Yale where he played No.1 on a team that went undefeated for his three years on varsity until his last match senior year. With Alfie Hunter he won the national 50+ doubles in 1979 and 1980 and the 60+ in 1988.
Kingsley taught at the Fay School in eastern Massachusetts from 1950 to 1965 and at Episcopal Academy outside Philadelphia from 1965 to 1974. He also coached the boy’s team at Episcopal from 1969 to 1974, leading them to league titles each season.
Kingsley was a longtime squash administrator, serving as secretary for US Squash in the 1960s and chairman of the board from 1973-75. In 1974 he became the first executive director of US Squash. He established US Squash’s first headquarters and led a dramatic transformation of the organization and squash across the nation. Membership went from 800 when he started to over 10,000 when he retired in 1992. Under his guidance, US Squash joined the U.S. Olympic Committee and led the effort to get into the Pan American Games, created and ran dozens of tournaments a year, brought corporate sponsorship into the game, sent teams for the first time to world championships and merged with the women’s national squash association. In March 1976 Sports Illustrated, reporting on the squash boom, wrote that Kingsley had “a flair for plaid and a feel for people.” Kingsley was awarded the President’s Cup in 1984 and inducted into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame in 2001.
“Darwin was a larger-than-life character for generations of squash players,” said Kevin Klipstein, the president and CEO of US Squash and Kingsley’s current successor. “Few were more intertwined with all aspects of squash in the U.S. during the twentieth century than PK. To me he has been and will continue to be the touchstone for all that we continue to aspire to as a sport and organization: integrity, sportsmanship, character, camaraderie and caring. He lived a full life into his nineties and we’re all the better for it. He will be missed by many.”
There will be a memorial service for Darwin Kingsley on Saturday April 27 at noon at Dunwoody Village in Newtown Square, PA.