Hartford, Conn. - Trinity College Head Men's Squash Coach Paul Assaiante, one of the premier coaches in the history of intercollegiate athletics, was honored by the Connecticut Sportswriters Alliance this spring as one of five Gold Key recipients for his lasting impact on sports in the state of Connecticut. Assaiante was recognized, along with former boxing champion Marlon Starling, former Hartford Whalers owner Howard Baldwin, U.S. Hockey gold medalist Bob McVey, and longtime high school swimming coach Terry Lowe at the Annual Gold Key Dinner on April 24 at the Aqua Turf. He was unable to attend due to a last-minute conflict with a trip to Malaysia with ther U.S. Women's Squash Team, but expressed his gratitude in a pre-recorded video message.
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In his 21st year at Trinity, Assaiante brought the men's squash team back to the College Squash Association (CSA) National Championship Finals for the 19th year in a row in 2014-15, and the Bantams came through with their 15th national title with a 7-2 win against St. Lawrence in the finals. This past winter, the Bantams also won their ninth straight New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship title and had a 20-1 final dual-match record. Trinity is 3-0 in 2015-16 with a match at Drexel on January 5 at 4 p.m.
In 2012-13, Trinity won all 19 of its matches and downed Harvard, 6-3, at Yale in the CSA Finals to give the Bantams their 14th national crown in 15 years. Assaiante coached Trinity to the national title without a single First-Team All American selection on the roster, and was rewarded as the 2013 NESCAC Coach of the Year. Assaiante guided Trinity to 13 consecutive CSA National titles from 1999 to 2011 and 252 wins in a row before a 5-4 loss at Yale in January of 2012 closed the book on the longest winning streak in the history of intercollegiate varsity sports. Assaiante was previously the NESCAC Coach of the Year in both 2008 and 2009. He is 378-13 all-time as the Bantam head coach.
The team's unprecedented winning streak, which began in 1998, captivated Trinity and beyond and was followed by major media outlets across the globe and the nation, including Sports Illustrated, ESPN, the New York Times, and the Hartford Courant. The history of the team will forever remain a legendary piece of history at Trinity College, where squash has been enthusiastically embraced.
From 1999-2003 and again from 2010 to present, Assaiante coached both the United States Squash Team, which has competed in the Pan American Games, and the USA Men's Team, which finished a best-ever sixth in the World Championships in Germany in 2011. Twice named the United States Olympic Committee Coach of the Year, Assaiante was named one of Connecticut's top sports coaches of the 20th century by The Hartford Courant. Assaiante has also coached the Trinity men's tennis squad for 19 of the last 21 seasons, notching a 188-97 career record with the Bantams. His tennis teams have consistently been ranked both regionally and nationally, most recently in 2011-12 when the Bantams ended the year at No. 5 in the ITA Division III Northeast Regional Poll and No. 18 in the ITA Division III National Poll. Assaiante earned NESCAC and Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Northeast Regional Coach of the Year in 2008.
His coaching experience includes stints at the United States Military Academy Club Team for several seasons and at Williams College in 1988-89, where he was 8-4 to give him a 386-17 overall career varsity record. He was also a squash professional at the world-famous Princeton Club of New York and director of racquet sports at the Baltimore Country Club, the Apawamis Club in Rye, N.Y., and the Bellevue Athletic Club in Seattle, Wash.