MIT Earns 2019 Barnaby Award

MIT’s Head Coach Thierry Lincou and members of the team present at the 2019 CSA Individual National Championships receive the 2019 Barnaby Award from CSA Executive Director & League Commissioner David Poolman (photo credit: Michael T. Bello)

The College Squash Association (CSA) has recognized the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with the 2019 Barnaby Award for overall team improvement. This is the second time that MIT’s team has earned this award, with its first award coming 25 years ago in 1993.

First presented in 1983, the Barnaby Award, voted on by all men’s varsity teams, recognizes the most improved team in men’s college squash. The award is named for Jack Barnaby, who coached the Harvard men for decades and later coached the Harvard women. Harvard struggled during the first few years of Barnaby’s tenure, but the Crimson ultimately became a national powerhouse under his leadership, winning national title after national title. By the time he retired from coaching the men’s team in 1976, Barnaby had compiled a 355-95 lifetime record. His team capped his final season with a national title, going undefeated.

Receiving the Barnaby Award caps a historic year for the MIT program. Their improvement of five ranking spots – from 22 in 2018 to 17 in 2019 – helped them earn their first Summers Cup (C Division) championship and their highest end-of-season ranking in program history.  MIT also earned their first Sloane Award in 2019 for their display of team sportsmanship throughout the 2018-2019 season.

“This season, the team was able to improve and elevate their level of play very steadily throughout the weeks and matches,” stated MIT Head Coach Thierry Lincou. “We got close to beating very good teams, especially from January on, and everything clicked and peaked at the Nationals where the Team showed a mentality to not just do well, but to win. It is an honor for the team to get this award knowing what it takes [to succeed] especially in this very rigorous and demanding academic environment.”

Lincou continued, “When I started five years ago, my athletic director told me that I would need five years to build up the program. We were in the mid 30s in the rankings, and that is what happened! I had to take time to learn about collegiate squash and to establish the right culture and recruiting process at one of the world’s best tech, sciences and engineering schools.”