The University of Pennsylvania men’s squash team and Head Coach Gilly Lane earned the 2020 Sloane Award for men’s team sportsmanship. This award was announced on Sunday, March 1, prior to the Potter Cup Final during the CSA National Collegiate Men’s Team Championships at Harvard University. This is the first time that the University of Pennsylvania has earned this award.
The Quakers finished the 2019-2020 season ranked second in the country. Entering the Men’s Team Championships as the 3-seed, Penn navigated its way to its first ever Potter Cup final appearance by defeating No. 6 Yale in the quarterfinals and pulling off a 6-3 upset victory over the 2-seed, Trinity College, in the semifinals. Penn fell to the top overall seed and defending champion Harvard University in the final, finishing as the runner-up.
“We are so proud to be the recipient of the 2019-2020 Sloane Award,” said Lane. “Being recognized by your peers for this honor is truly humbling, and I couldn’t be prouder of how the student-athletes represented our university this year. While it’s great to win squash matches, it’s even more important to play the game the right way, and I was continually proud of how our players handled themselves during their matches throughout the season. They represent everything I want our program to be about.”
The Sloane Award is given annually to the men’s team exhibiting a high level of sportsmanship. The team characteristics this award honors may be best described in the words of former Williams coach, Clarence Chaffee: “a sense of esprit de corps, of sportsmanship, of hard but fair play, of being gracious in victory and defeat, and enjoying the camaraderie and pride of being part of a team.” Coaches discussed with their players which team they felt is deserving of the award. Coaches were then polled for nominations and then voting was conducted online leading up to the team championships.
An award for team sportsmanship was first given in 1981. The team that won the award that year — Williams College — was coached by Sean Sloane. A nationally ranked hardball player, Sloane had been coaching both squash and tennis at Williams since the 1970s, and his teams were known for their spirit and sportsmanship. Sloane eventually left Williams to serve as the Director of the USTA’s Education and Recreation Program, but when he returned to coaching in 1997 at Haverford College, his teams continued to be recognized for their sportsmanship. The CSA renamed the award in Sloane’s honor in 2005.
Brown University and University of Western Ontario were the other two team finalists up for the 2020 Sloane Award.