In June 2022 in San Diego, US Squash presented Blair Sadler with the W. Stewart Brauns, Jr. Award—one of the organization’s highest honors—in a ceremony at Access Youth Academy’s annual gala. The Brauns Award is given by US Squash to a person who has made major administrative, off-the-court contributions to the game of squash.
Sadler initially picked up squash as a first-year student at Amherst in the late 1950s. He was an avid amateur player for decades. In 1977 he moved to San Diego and helped develop squash in America’s eighth-largest city, as well as serve on the board of US Squash.
In 2006 Sadler was one of the founders of Access Youth Academy, the first after-school youth development squash program west of the Mississippi. He served as chair of the board of Access from 2012 to 2022. During his tenure as board chair, Sadler led the effort to build Access’ own facility. In 2021 Access opened a $12 million, 22,000 square-foot, two-story, eight-court facility in southeast San Diego. The facility is a part of the Community Affiliate Network, US Squash’s national cohort of intentionally accessible squash clubs.
More than three hundred supporters, community leaders, team members and friends attended Access’ 2022 gala at Paradise Point Resort and Spa, where Kevin Klipstein, president and CEO of US Squash, presented the Brauns Award to Sadler.
“When I came to US Squash’s first strategic planning session in 2007, Blair took me aside and asked me what my BHAG was,” Klipstein said. “He explained that it was a ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal.’ Anyone who knows Blair knows he doesn’t think small. That session set US Squash on the most ambitious path the organization had been on since it was founded more than a century earlier. And here in San Diego Blair had another BHAG which became Access Youth Academy’s program and facility. Blair helps set big goals and then helps achieve them. To move forward the world needs people to dedicate themselves over the long haul, to act in thousands of small ways over many years to turn a vision into reality. This is what Blair has done.”
To learn more about Blair Sadler, listen to the July 2022 episode of Outside The Glass.
The W. Stewart Brauns, Jr. Award is named after a legendary twentieth-century leader of US Squash. Stew Brauns was a tournament director, head referee, committee chair and founder of the World Squash Federation. Since the 1980s US Squash has annually given out the Brauns Award. Previous honorees include Jahangir Khan who served as president of the World Squash Federation, Jay Prince who founded Squash Magazine, referee Larry Sconzo, teaching pro Shabana Khan and most recently Dan Keating, who led the construction of the Arlen Specter US Squash Center.