The College Squash Association is saddened to report that Dave Talbott, 71, Yale University’s head squash coach for 38 years and a CSA Hall of Fame honoree, died suddenly on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, from an apparent heart attack. His passing came just a few days after the loss of his beloved wife of nearly 40 years, Ann Talbott.
The sudden loss of two of college squash’s most devoted stewards has rocked the squash community. Dave and Ann were unwavering champions of college squash and were passionately devoted to enhancing the student-athlete experience. Dave led the men’s program since 1983 and later took the helm of the women’s program in 2004. With the unwavering support of Ann who attended most matches, Dave coached and mentored countless Yale Elis, leading their teams to an impressive six national championships and eight Ivy League Championships during his tenure. In 2021, upon his retirement, his players fondly remembered his unwavering passion, his emphasis on sportsmanship and hard work, and his infectious humor and humility.
Dave’s love of squash and the people involved in it was palpable. Although he was fiercely competitive – Dave was a former professional player and reached a career-high of 12th in North America – he never lost sight of the fact that squash was, at its core, a game meant to be enjoyed. He relished the opportunity to have fun playing it, teaching it, and coaching it. Dave had an innate ability to lighten the mood, offering a joke and a warm smile, even in the most intense matches, and was known for goofing around with his equally fun-loving brother, Mark Talbott, with whom he coached alongside at Yale for many years.
Dave’s contributions to the sport extended far beyond his coaching career. He was a recognized leader in the squash community and was known for nurturing the kind of relationships that make our community so strong. Dave served as Secretary and pro tour coordinator for the World Professional Squash Association (SPSA) while he played on the circuit in the 1980s. He later assumed the role of President of the Intercollegiate Association from 2003 to 2004, leaving an indelible mark on the collegiate squash landscape. In 2019, he was deservedly inducted into the College Squash Association Hall of Fame. Even in retirement, he generously volunteered his time to the development of the game, including his role as President of Squash Haven, an urban squash program he helped to establish.
While Dave’s storied career was filled with accolades, Championship cups, and prestigious Hall of Fame honors, to label him a legend of the game would be an understatement. What truly set Dave and Ann apart was their infectious energy, boundless enthusiasm, and quick wit. They both radiated these qualities, profoundly impacting everyone they encountered, coached, and supported. It is these irreplaceable traits that the squash community will all miss so dearly.
The CSA will share information about memorial services for Dave and Ann as details become available, and we will find ways to honor their memory in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
Ann and Dave’s obituary can be found on the Guilford Funeral Home website by clicking here.