The College Squash Association (CSA) is pleased to announce that Wendy Lawrence, former head coach of the George Washington University Men’s and Women’s Squash Teams and former president of the Women’s College Squash Association, is the recipient of the 2021 Arthur Blasberg, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award.
CSA will pay tribute to Lawrence live during the virtual College Squash Awards Show on March 25, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Lawrence will join the broadcast to talk about the award and her career.
Prior to her retirement in 2019, Lawrence was a George Washington head coach for 12 years, leading the men’s team starting in 2007 and taking over the women’s program in 2010. During her tenure, Lawrence built both programs into perennial top-10 contenders with the women finishing as high as 7th (2015) and the men’s team placing 9th twice as Hoehn Cup Champions in her final two seasons.
Lawrence also played a critical role in college squash governance for many years. She joined the Women’s College Squash Association as Tournament Chair in 2011 before transitioning to the role of President from 2013 to 2017. In that position, Lawrence’s leadership helped transition the separate women’s and men’s associations into a single Intercollegiate Squash Association in the spring of 2017. She sat on the inaugural independent Board of Directors as a coach director and the Women’s Advisory Subcommittee Chair for the first two years of the newly structured organization, contributing vital guidance and insights to the independent directors and new Executive Director.
“Wendy’s experience and leadership was absolutely crucial to the formation of this newest iteration of the CSA,” says Executive Director & League Commissioner David Poolman. “Wendy’s resume is full of examples of her breaking barriers and leading the way into challenging or uncertain circumstances, and the squash community, particularly college squash, is much better off due to many of her efforts.”
From being one of the first females to earn the head squash professional role at a major racquet club, to being only the second female to lead a men’s college squash team, Lawrence has been a pioneer and role model for women’s players and coaches in the United States. It further enhances her achievements that she has been successful at every level of the game: recreational (Uptown Racquet Club, Washington Sports Clubs, Results Gym), scholastic (Capitol Hill Day School, The Potomac School), professional (ranked as high as 12th nationally), and intercollegiate.
CSA is not the first organization to recognize Lawrence for her success, sportsmanship, and impact on the squash community. US Squash has awarded Lawrence both the Wedgewood Trophy, for contributions to squash, and the Feron Cup, for sportsmanship. She also received the National Capitol Squash Racquets Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In addition, during her final season at George Washington, Lawrence accepted the Women’s Leadership Award at the 6th annual J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions Women’s Leadership Program.
Through all of her experience, Lawrence left perhaps the biggest impression on the players who she recruited and coached. Lawrence’s last GW women’s senior captain, Brooke Feldman, may have put it best: “Wendy is the backbone behind our success, not only because of her global recruiting or winning mentality, but more importantly because of her unconditional emotional support and her unique character that have made playing for her unforgettable.”
A 1974 graduate of Vassar College, where she learned the game of squash and also played varsity tennis, Lawrence is retired in the Washington, DC area with her husband, Mark. Retired but not out of the game completely, Lawrence still plays squash regularly and has been consulting with the Georgetown University athletics department as they transition their women’s club squash team to a varsity program.
The Arthur Blasberg, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award was first awarded in 1998 and is reserved for “those rare individuals who have contributed throughout their career to college squash as a whole and who have dedicated a career to the sport.” The most recent award was bestowed in 2007.
The Blasberg Family, many of whom played college squash, made a generous gift in 2020 to entitle and memorialize the CSA Lifetime Achievement Award in honor of their late father and grandfather, Arthur Blasberg, Jr. “Nothing brought [Arthur] greater joy than watching a hard-fought squash match,” said his daughter-in-law and former CSA Independent Director Jeannie Blasberg.