What Harvard Coach has a tougher job and a better record than Bud Wilkinson, Bear Bryant, and Ara Parseghian rolled into one? Jack Barnaby, that's who.
Just think what kind of record Parseghian might have if most of his Notre Dame football candidates this year had never played football before and no one had played more than a year or two.
Every time a squash player graduates from Harvard, Barnaby faces just that situation. He has to develop a replacement from among players who never saw a squash racquet before coming to Harvard, or prep school graduates whose experience is at best limited.
30 in a Row
Yet year in, year out, he has done it. The squash team begins its season today, riding a winning streak of 30 games. That's three unbeaten seasons in a row.
As you go farther back into Barnaby's coaching record the statistics get more amazing. Over the last nine years, his teams have won 92 matches, lost four. They've won five of the last six Ivy titles and have never finished lower than second in league play. No team of his has lost more than three games in a season and only one has lost that many.
This year's team, it's generally conceded, may be a cut or two below the last few years. Any team probably would be if it lost a national champion, and four other men who had won letters for three years. That's five out of the nine top players who disappeared.
Fine Man Gone
Gone is Vic Niederhoffer, who came to Harvard without ever having played squash and left the college as national collegiate champion, the country's thirdranked amateur, and a semifinalist in the National Open.
Gone too, are Lou Williams, number two player last year; John Thorndike, a three-year veteran; and John Francis, whose fantastic last-game comeback against Princeton saved Harvard's unbeaten season last year.
Barnaby is not complaining. "I never like to hear these guys talk about their graduation losses," he says. "You get a guy, you know you'll have him just four years. OK, so he graduates: what did you expect?"
Anyone who's been around Harvard squash awhile expects that Harvard is going to have a representative squash team this year.
Starting with the McGill match today, Harvard is going to have a much rougher road. Matches that were won last year by 9-0 are going to be won only by 6-3 and 7-2. The matches with Princeton, Penn, and Army are going to be as close as can be; in fact if there's a favorite now for the Ivy title, it's Princeton, not Harvard.
But Barnaby is starting with a sound team, one that figures to improve greatly as the season goes on. It has a strong top five of experienced players, and a lower half of players Barnaby expects to develop quickly.