John F. Herrick, one of the great players and leaders of U.S. squash, died on Tuesday, October 25, at the age of eighty-four.
A Cleveland native and junior tennis phenom, Jack captained and played #1 on the squash team Dartmouth before graduating in 1960. He was the chair of the Friends of Dartmouth Squash from 1986 to 2001 and led the campaign for Dartmouth’s innovative squash facility which opened in 1987. An avid player for decades, Jack won dozens of Cleveland, Northeast Ohio and Ohio state championships in singles and doubles and in 1983 he triumphed in the 45+ division at the World Masters in New Zealand, becoming the first American to win a world singles title.
Jack was a leading administrator for a half century. He was the head of Cleveland’s squash association, Great Lakes regional district association, Western Squash Association and was a longtime member of the board of US Squash, serving on numerous committees including the national tournament schedule committee (which he chaired), sponsorship, nominating and referees and acting as assistant secretary. From 1982 to 1984 Herrick was the president of US Squash. During his tenure, he ushered the American game into a new era: he started the softball National Singles, committed US Squash money and effort to junior development for the first time, established the Association’s first endowment fund (he was the first person to donate to it), supported the move from wooden to graphite racquets, computerized national rankings, expanded corporate sponsorship and created the first nationwide referee certification system. In 1988, he received the President’s Cup, US Squash’s highest annual award.
Jack was one of the most influential Americans ever in global squash. In the 1980s he was the U.S. men’s team manager at the World Championships four times, was a member of several World Squash Federation committees and served as commissioner of WPSA hardball tour from 1988 to 1993. From 1994 to 2008 he was the chair of the board of the PSA men’s pro squash tour, traveling more than a million air miles to play a central role in the development of the game around the world. During his fourteen years as chair, the PSA expanded in every metric, increasing prize money seven-fold, and more than doubling the number of tournaments and players.
Jack was honored numerous times for his squash contributions: in 1986 he was inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, in 1993 into the College Squash Association’s Hall of Fame and in 2012 into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame. “In squash the most important part of the swing is the follow-through,” Kevin Klipstein, the President and CEO of US Squash, said at Jack’s induction ceremony in 2012, “and Jack, your follow-through has been flawless over the past four decades.”
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 12 at Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio to be followed by a reception at the Cleveland Skating Club in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Memorial gifts may be made to the Jack Herrick Youth Sports Fund at the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, 2001 Crocker Road, Suite 510, Westlake, OH 44145, or the Jack Herrick Youth Sports Fund tab at www.clevelandsportshall.com.