Harry Lee Cowles


The founder of intercollegiate squash, Harry Cowles coached more national champions than any college coach in history. A court tennis pro from Newport, Cowles taught squash at the Harvard Club in Boston and was reputed, in an era without professional tournaments, to be a leading player. In 1922 Harvard University hired him to be the first college squash coach in the country. Before he retired in 1937, he had generated a squash boom around the U.S. and launched what remains today the world’s largest and highest-quality university squash league. His Harvard teams never lost a single match, going undefeated for fifteen seasons. Four of his players won six of the first seven national intercollegiate titles. Harvard captured the national five-man team tournament six times, a record that remained unbroken for sixty years. The enthusiasm for squash at Harvard was seen in the fact that by the time Cowles retired there were fifty courts on campus. Most of all, he mentored seven national champions in an unmatched period of success, with Palmer Dixon, Myles Baker, Herby Rawlins, Larry Pool, Beek Pool, Germain Glidden and Willing Patterson winning thirteen out of sixteen straight titles. The illustrious Harry Cowles Invitational, played at the Harvard Club in New York from 1947 to 1996, was named in his honor. Combining suberb technical advice, psychology and a strict demand for sportsmanship, Harry Cowles set the standard for all future college coaches.