Nancy Gengler-Saint grew up on Long Island in a famous family of five tennis-playing children (two of her sisters captained the women’s tennis team at Princeton and one, Margie, played in the US Open and Wimbledon and later married Stan Smith). It wasn’t until Gengler-Saint was a first-year student at Princeton when she picked up squash. She learned the lock combination to the door at Dillon Gymnasium and started training there alone at night. Spotted by Hall of Fame coach Betty Howe Constable, Gengler-Saint joined the team.
As a sophomore, she went 11-0 in dual matches; seeded four, she managed to sweep the national intercollegiate individual championships, earning her a place in the Faces in the Crowd section of Sports Illustrated.
Gengler-Saint reached the individual finals two more times and played on four national team title winners, including as captain her senior year in 1980. Twice she was named to the All Ivy team. In 1995 Gengler-Saint was inducted into the College Squash Association Hall of Fame. She took two years off during college to address her issues relating to eating disorders. After a long battle with and eventual recovery from anorexia and bulimia, she became a national spokesperson giving talks at various universities, hospitals, and television and radio broadcasts.
In the 1980s Gengler-Saint worked as a teaching pro at a number of clubs in New York, including Uptown Racquet Club on the Upper East Side and Fifth Avenue Racquet Club in Midtown. With her fluid movement and unmatched racquet work, Gengler-Saint was a prominent player through the decade. She was always a contender at the National Singles, including reaching the finals in 1983. She won numerous professional events, including the Metropolitan Women’s Open, Big Apple Open and Canadian Open, and she twice captured the Tournament of Champions in 1987 and 1988, becoming the first two-time woman winner of that storied event.
An early adopter of softball, Gengler-Saint spent two summers training in England and one in Toronto. She won the National Singles in 1989 and the Hyder Cup in 1981 and 1983. She played on Team USA at the Women’s World Teams in 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1989—setting a standard for representing the country that remains unsurpassed.
After struggling with her temperament on the tennis court as a junior, Gengler-Saint worked hard to become a role model on the squash court and was awarded the 1983 Women’s Sportsmanship Award.
Please join US Squash on April 2, 2022 for the induction of four members to the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame–Tom Page, John Fry, Gail Ramsay and Nancy Gengler-Saint–and the dedication of the spectacular new Peggy & Leo Pierce U.S. Squash Hall of Fame space in the Arlen Specter US Squash Center.