Ned Bigelow revolutionized the relationship between amateurs and professionals. An avuncular and sometimes bluntly honest figure, Bigelow held numerous influential positions within the squash bureaucracy, most notably as the president of the Metropolitan SRA, vice-president of US Squash, chair of the 1950 nationals and the first US Squash officer for international affairs. As president of the Heights
Casino in Brooklyn, he was responsible for building its famous doubles court (which now bears his name). But it was a tournament founder and director that he managed to change the squash landscape. In 1938 he started the Heights Casino Doubles Open (now called the Johnson), which was the first tournament in the country open to both professionals and amateurs; in the late 1940s, he created the Racquet & Tennis Club’s annual spring Interscholastic Invitational, the first junior tournament held outside Philadelphia, as well as the R&T’s Freshman Invitation for collegiate men. But Bigelow’s greatest legacy was the United States Open. He almost singlehandedly launched the Open in 1954 in New York, doing everything from personally recruiting the star-studded field to persauding US Squash to sanction the tournament. An immediate sensation, the U.S. Open brought Hashim Khan to America, led to incredible media exposure for squash and became the foundation of the pro tour. Ned Bigelow demonstrated that squash leadership required both a willingness for experimentation and a devotion to the game’s timeless values.