The modest birth of the progam came when the Athletic Department was added in 1924. Today, The Toledo Club's squash community is as vibrant as ever with over 250 playing members, one of the largest squash programs in the country.
The game of squash, or squash racquets, originated in nineteenth century England from the dame of Hard Racquets. The name was derived from the sound that the hollow rubber ball made when it struck the wall. English army officers spread the game around the world during the zenith of the British Empire.
Programs are only as good as the professionals who administer them, and the Toledo Club has a fine history of quality teaching professionals. The Club had several squash coordinators in the ensuing fifty years who ran tournaments and worked with beginning players. The first full time squash professional, Tom Rumploer (1978-81) was hired and the process began. Charlie McKnight (1981-85) along with Billy Austin (1985-88), laid the foundation for the outstanding program that is in place today. Their proficiency as fine teachers, excellent players and able administrators helped put The Toledo Club as a quality squash club, on the map.
Evidence of the notable strength of the program is provided by the four years that the Club hosted the North American Open Singles Championship. This crown jewel of squash was held from 1987-1990 in the three walled, glass tour court erected in the Belvedere Room. The special structure was also brought in for the WPSA-World Professional Squash Association Championship in 1986.
The Toledo Club has held one of the most popular regional tournament events in the form of the Toledo Squash Classic, since 1991.
Squash Professional and Athletic Director John Seidel heads one of the finest squash programs in the United States. John was introduced to the game by his father and played at the Indianapolis Athletic Club, where he was fortunate to come under the tutelage of Master Professional, Jim McQueenie. John was captain and played #1 singles for the nationally ranked State University of New York at Stony Brook Squash Team. He was finalist for the John Skillman Intercollegiate Sportsmanship Award. John was head squash professional at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis from 1984-1987, and head racquets professional at the Baltimore Country Club from 1987-1988, before landing at The Toledo Club in 1988.
John played on the World Professional Squash Association Tour from 1984-1989 and attained a ranking in the top 25 in singles, top 20 in doubles and a teaching professional ranking of three. John served on the WPSA Teaching Professional Committee from 1987-1991 and is certified as a Level One instructor by the WPSA, the highest attainable. Still an avid player, he's won singles and doubles titles in seven different states, his most recent singles championship coming at the Detroit Racquet Club in 2015. He was a semi-finalist in the World Squash Doubles Championships (40+ division) in Toronto, in April of 2002. He is a past president of the North American Association of Club Athletic Directors (NACAD) which he has been a member of since 1990. The Toledo Club team brought home the McQueenie Cup trophy in 2011.
Toledo Club junior players, who seem to appear in groups of two or three dedicated players at a time, have also firmly established The Toledo Club's reputation for turning out solid players to the intercollegiate ranks. John Sprenger (USNA '88) was a four time All American and winner of the "Sword" presented to the Naval Academy's finest athlete. (Sharing company with NBA star David Robinson USNA '87 and NFL running back Napoleon McCallum USNA '86.) Casey Garwood (USNA '93) was a two time All American and Rob Bruno (SUNY Stony Brook '88) also achieved All American status. Al Sprenger Jr. (USNA '95) played #1 singles for Navy, and was on the way to becoming The Toledo Club's fourth All American player, until the ball changed. The switch in 1995 from hardball to softball did not compliment AJ's hard hitting game, and unfortunately, he fell just short of the honor. Jessica Bohl (Wesleyan '02) had fine potential, but played for only a year. Drew Snell, Andy Effler, Bradley and Riley Seidel were the next junior group. Drew Snell (Denison '06) was the captain of the Denison team and a four year starter on their squad. Andy Effler spent a year playing at the University of Western Ontario and developed a sound game before returning to UT. Bradley Seidel (USNA '11) was named captain for the 2010-2011 Navy team and is a four year starter as well. The current group of juniors participating in the program include Ryan Leslie and Audrey Berling.
Squash at The Toledo Club is a tradition of fun, fair, yet fierce competition that helps to make the program what it is today. The heritage of club champions, Lifetime and Sportsmanship award winners and the incredible camaraderie that the squash players enjoy, make it a special place within a special club.