PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania's Director of Athletics, Steve Bilsky, has announced that Jack Wyant will become the University's Head Coach of Squash. Currently the Quakers' women's squash coach -- he will enter his seventh year with that program in 2010-11 -- Wyant will also take over the men's program starting with the 2010-11 season.
"We are excited that Jack has accepted this new challenge," said Bilsky. "He has had a great deal of success overseeing our women's program, and it is our hope that he can achieve similar success overseeing the men's program. Jack is a passionate and proud person, and I have every confidence that he will work hard to put both Penn squash programs among the elite nationally."
"I am excited about the opportunity and anxious to get to work," said Wyant. "I was attracted to the men's coaching position for the same reasons that brought me to Penn in the first place -- the caliber of student-athlete and the opportunity to win. Both of these teams are the priority, and our immediate goal is to put together a staff and plan that will allow us to maximize each team’s potential.
"I felt privileged to work alongside Craig (Thorpe-Clark) for six years," Wyant added. "I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to succeed him and I hope that he stays close to the program. He provided stability to the men's program for 11 years, developed many great players, and left a number of very talented athletes."
Also the 2009 US Squash National Coach of the Year, Wyant has certainly made his mark with the Penn women's squash program. He led the squad to a 13-3 finish and a No. 2 national ranking last year, when the Quakers competed in both the Ivy League title and national championship matches. Kristen Lange earned first-team All-America for the fourth straight year, while classmate Sydney ScottNabilla Ariffin were named second-team All-America. and freshman
In 2007-08, the team had the program's most successful season under Wyant, finishing 15-1 while being crowned Ivy League champions. In addition, the Red and Blue were runners-up for the national championship at the Howe Cup. Wyant returned 12 players including All-America and All-Ivy Alisha Turner, Lange and Scott, who held down the top three spots. Lange reached the final of the CSA Individual Championships for the second year in a row. The Quakers went undefeated in the regular season to clinch the Ivy League title.
Wyant coached the Quakers to a third-place finish in the Ivy League with a 10-4 overall record in 2008-09. Lange was named Ivy League Player of the Year and first-team All-America along with Scott, while Turner was honored as second-team All-America. In 2006-07, Wyant led the finest campaign the Quakers had since their 2000 national championship run, going 10-2 while enjoying time ranked No. 1 in the nation. The season featured three All-America selections in Lange, Paula Pearson and Scott.
In 2005-06 Wyant led the Quakers to a 10-5 overall record and a No. 5 national ranking, and three of his players rack up postseason honors as Radhika Ahluwalia, Pearson and Turner earned All-America honors. Wyant's debut season of 2004-05 saw him lead the Quakers to a No. 6 national ranking. In addition, he coached sophomore Pearson to first-team All-Ivy and second-team All-America honors.
Prior to coming to Penn, Wyant served as the head coach of the girls' squash team at Milton (Mass.) Academy and led them to a 13-0 record that included an 83-8 varsity individual record.
Wyant is no stranger to squash at its highest levels. He was named the head coach of the 2007 United States Junior Women's World Championships team and guided the squad to an eighth place finish in Hong Kong in August, 2007. Most recently, Wyant led the US team to a fourth-place finish at the 2009 World Juniors held in Chennai, India. That matched the best finish in the team's history, and earned Wyant the US Squash National Coach of the Year honor.
Wyant played his collegiate squash at Princeton, where he was the 1992 National Intercollegiate Rookie of the Year, a three-time All-America and four-time All-Ivy honoree. While at Princeton, he was the only three-year captain in the program's 75-year history and helped the Tigers to the 1993 national team title. Wyant twice was awarded the program's George C. McFarland Trophy for Leadership and Sportsmanship. He graduated from Princeton in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in history.
After leaving Princeton, Wyant competed on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) tour for three years. During that time, he played in tournaments in England, Europe and Central America as well as throughout North America. Wyant also had the honor of representing the United States in international competition four times -- twice as a junior and twice as a professional (including the Pan-American Fed Games). He ultimately achieved a ranking of No. 3 in the United States.