Rochester, NY — The College Squash Association is sad to report that Peter Lyman, the longtime Rochester University squash and tennis coach, passed away on September 28th.
Lyman, a 1947 graduate of the University of Rochester, coached the Yellowjackets’ squash program for 44 years. As an undergraduate, he was a standout squash and tennis player.
According to a 2008 Rochester Review article, in the late 1950s, Lyman was the varsity tennis coach and the school was looking to start a squash program. Lyman recalled that the school said to him, “You look like the closest thing to a squash coach here.”
Lyman coached the Yellowjackets’ squash team until his retirement in 2000. During his tenure, he guided Rochester to as high as #11 in the national rankings. Many of his players gained All-American honors, including Paul Muntner ’91 and Rishad Pandole ’96. He even coached a Rhodes Scholar, Tim Londergan ’65.
In 1999, the Men’s College Squash Association presented Lyman with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to those rare individuals who have made significant contributions to college squash as a whole and who have dedicated a career to the sport. The Lifetime Achievement Award is a rare honor and Lyman was only the second recipient of the award.
Martin Heath, the current Rochester coach, told the Rochester Review in 2008 that Lyman “was the team. It’s impossible for me to live up to that legacy. I have the utmost respect for Peter and what he’s done.”
Lyman laid the groundwork for the Yellowjackets’ current success. At the conclusion of the 2009 season, the program achived its highest season-ending ranking, 3rd. Last season, the Yellowjackets finished 5th in the nation.
One of Lyman’s former players is John Illig ’86, who now coaches Middlebury. In a 2009 article for the CSA, Illig chronicled the much anticipated showdown between Princeton and Rochester. The Yellowjackets won that match 5-4. In the article, Illig sees himself in Lyman:
I look down and see my old U.R. college tennis coach, Peter Lyman, who coached squash & tennis at U. Rochester for almost 40 years. UR’s squash and tennis courts are named after him and someone tells me that Bob Callahan said a few nice words on Peter’s behalf during introductions at the start of the match. Bob Callahan, always on the ball. Peter is old now, and for many, many decades he’s suffered greatly from rheumatoid arthritis, so he looks even older than he is. I’m in my 19th season as a college squash coach, and I can see myself easily coaching for 20 more years. I look down at Peter. He’s “into” the match. I see Peter as an old man and I’m staring my future right in the face.
Rochester’s squash center, the Lyman Squash and Racquetball Center, is named in honor of Peter Lyman.
Peter Lyman will be missed.