History of NorCal Squash Association
The Northern California Squash Racquets Association was founded sometime in the 60’s, mainly to formalize league play between the squash clubs in San Francisco (mostly the University Club and the Olympic Club). Norcal was a major part of the Pacific Coast SRA, a now-dormant organization that represented the interests of all the west-coast squash communities, including Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, SF, LA, Fresno, Denver, etc.
The peak of Norcal’s hardball era was probably hosting the US Nationals in 1983, which was held primarily at the now-defunct San Francisco Squash Club (Alex Eichmann’s club in SoMA, with 6 or 7 hardball courts, including a large gallery court). The draw for the Men’s A usually was limited to 128 entrants, and it was a major achievement to make it through seven rounds to win it. Side note: my brother won that tournament, defeating David Boyum in one of their many classic confrontations.
Around 1986 or 1987, a separate softball-focused organization was formed, called ISANC (International Squash Association of Northern California). ISANC had no affiliation with Norcal or with the USSRA, and there was initially not much overlap between the two associations, as there was a hardball crowd and a mostly separate softball crowd. The separation didn’t last long, as it became obvious that it was silly to have two associations for such a small community of players. So, the organizations merged in the late 80’s, with the ISANC officers taking on most of the officers’ roles in Norcal.
In the early 90’s, a foundation called the San Francisco International Squash Foundation (SFISF) was formed by Jack Seery, Reed Freyermuth, and Tom Friel, for the purpose of promoting the game in the Bay Area. The primary intention of SFISF was not to compete with Norcal – it wasn’t a membership-based organization – but rather to focus on promoting specific events, such as major professional events, as well as on promoting squash to schools, etc. After a few years, the SFISF became somewhat dormant. However, they had gone through the trouble of obtaining 501(c)3 status from the IRS and the FTB, allowing individuals to donate money to the SFISF and take a deduction on their taxe return for the donations.
So, in the late 90’s, the SFISF acquired all of the assets of Norcal, the three founding officers of the SFISF resigned, and they were replaced by the Norcal officers at the time. This means that Norcal is now a 501(c)3 organization, and as long as it maintains its tax returns, corporate filings with the State of California, etc., it will be able to retain that status.
More recently, the association has unofficially changed its name to Norcal Squash, and has begun to rejuvenate its core of volunteers. There are the beginnings of a resurrection of the league system that was the impetus for founding the association 30-odd years ago, and the future looks bright.