Bob Hanscom, Godfather of California Squash, Dies

Bob Hanscom (center) accepts the 2014 USOPC Developmental Coach of the Year Award.

Bob Hanscom, a legendary leader of squash, died on May 31, 2022 at the age of eighty-six. A memorial service was held on July 9 in Pasadena, CA.

Hanscom grew up in New England. He studied as an undergraduate at Salem State University and as a grad student at the German Sport University in Cologne, West Germany. In the 1970s he became a leading gymnastics coach, including serving as executive director of an elite training center in Connecticut where he trained members of the U.S. Olympic team. In March 1986 he moved to southern California, first working at the South Bay Squash Club and then becoming the head squash professional at the University Club of Los Angeles. After seven years there, he migrated to the Los Angeles Athletic Club, where he was head pro for fifteen years. He then came out of a short-lived retirement to help run Arroyo Seco Racquet Club and then the LA Squash Academy at its three locations.

Hanscom was an inveterate pied piper for squash. He gave first lessons to thousands of women and men and children. He was a national champion: he won the U.S. 55+ in 1993 and was regularly ranked No.1 in the country in his age-group. He was one of American’s first international referees, conducting seminars and marking matches at national events and the World Championships and Pan American Games. He staged dozens of amateur and professional tournaments in southern California, including the 1998 National Singles on a portable court at Macy’s Mall in Los Angeles. He leaves a legacy of increased access to the game through the execution of multiple racquetball-to-squash court conversions.