Last month Paul Monaghan, Jr. died. He was eighty-nine years old.
Squash, as we know it, would not exist without Monaghan. A squash-playing architect, he literally opened up the game. In 1968 he installed the world’s first entirely full-length glass wall—it was the back wall on the first back court at the Ringe Courts at Penn. It was a revolutionary move: for the first time you could see what was going on. All the innovations in the past fifty years—like the portable glass court in front of the Great Pyramids or in Grand Central—can be traced to that moment.
Not content with one revolution, Monaghan also pioneered the commercial squash club. In 1973 he opened the first public, pay-to-play club in the U.S., Berwyn Squash & Fitness. He added two more clubs, building the first squash club empire in the country. The last time I saw Monaghan was four years ago at the U.S. Open when we celebrated Berwyn’s fortieth anniversary.
At Monaghan’s funeral service, we sang the hymn “On Eagle’s Wings” which includes the line:
And He will raise you up on eagles’ wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of His hand.
Monaghan did shine like the sun and all of us in the game of squash are thankful.