RIP Malcolm Willstrop

A sad loss for the whole squash community worldwide as Malcolm Willstrop passes away …

Here’s a note from James – plus many more stories and tributes (++ indicates longer articles)

you can leave your thoughts in the comments at the bottom of the page …

Malcolm’s Photo Gallery

Malcolm’s Photo Gallery

 

16 comments

  1. Really sad news, great loss to the world of Squash, will always be grateful for all the hard work he put in with Cassie when she was a junior.we had some great times while he was in Norfolk, thinking of James and his family.RIP Malcolm.

  2. The Italian Borderline Squash Team is deeply saddened to know the loss of Malcolm Willstrop.
    The words cannot describe our feelings. Malcolm was not only one of the best coach in the world squash history, but he was for all of us a coach, a mentor, a friend. No matter our age, our level, our possibilities: he trained all of us as the best player and always found the way to make us better player, in and out of the court.
    It was an honour met him and be trained by Malcolm Willstrop.
    He will be in our hearts and our minds.
    We unite us to the pain of the Family, Friends and Players of Pontefract. All our sympathy.
    Monia
    Marianna
    Gianluca
    Pier
    Davide

  3. I first met Malcolm in 2003 in Chennai at the World Juniors when my son Siddharth Suchde was playing Squash. Malcolm was always charming and funny, and we managed to keep in touch across a few years, while Siddharth was still studying in Scotland.

    Sincere condolences, James and Vanessa. Our thoughts are with you.

    Smita Suchde
    Siddharth Suchde

  4. It’s truly a sad day for the sport. We have lost one of our greatest. Have fond memories of chatting with the man at various tournaments. Thanks to Squash Site, even had the pleasure of working alongside him in Hong Kong for a couple of years. You’ll be missed Malc. Rest in power dear friend.

  5. A very, very sad day, and a huge loss to the sport of squash and more importantly personally to many people around the world. My sincere love and condolences to jimbo, Vanessa, camps, beach, toddy, his gkids, and so many others that he was an integral part of life and squash. As with many others I’m sure, this has hit me and my wife Sarah hard.

    I first got to meet Malc at an under 12 national squad in Telford in 1986 where he was one of the coaches. He told me off for being scruffy, late and arrogant, which at the time I totally disagreed with, however, with hindsight and age he was probably right. Over the years since we worked together with the England teams in various guises with DP, carts, camps, Pj, jimbo, beach, Pete Nicol, nick m, Jenny d, Alison, Laura, Pete b, snide, grant man, Sarah k, to mention only a few (apologies to those I left out) enjoying success worldwide, not always agreeing on the minuscule detail (which is healthy in sport) but always philosophically aligned on the player being most important. Over the proceeding years I was lucky enough to be part of jimbos and beaches (and others within malcs camp) career and truly enjoyed working with Malc during these times.

    The most vivid and lasting memories come from the vision Malc had about combining music and squash, which he nailed. He and Sylv Richardson (from simply red and many other world leading bands) created a squash based band called lost for words that toured uk for 5-10 years entertaining people with squash and music through a brilliant show around the clubs and tournaments which I was privileged to be part of. His passion around this was infectious. Through this myself and my wife Sarah grew really close to Malc, James, beach, camps, Sarah, Vanessa, toddy, Nicola, Andy n and the other great musos/friends and I still remember how happy these evenings made him, ourselves and others feel. I tried to find some pictures of these wonderful nights on the the tinternet to no avail, so if any has some please post. It was especially wonderful when Malc and the ponte gang came to our wedding in Shropshire 15 years ago and blessed us with Yorkshire humour and love, which we adored and will never forget.

    Malc will Rest In Peace, but your legacy will not rest, it will continue though the ages

    Love from Staff and family

  6. It’s so sad that Malcolm isn’t around anymore. He was a great guy and an example for all coaches. Beside the squash, it was always a pleasure to have a chat with him. Great man! I want to wish the whole family a lot of strength during this period.

  7. Condolences to James and family. An absolute legend of our sport and a completely unique coach and individual. Malcolms commitment to coach any age, ability and aspiration has been a huge inspiration to me and I’m sure many others.

  8. “On behalf of the wider Canadian Squash Community, our Squash Canada staff and our Board, I send our deepest condolences to the Willstrop family for the loss of your wonderful man. Malcolm shared his wisdom with several visiting Canadian athletes over the years, and Malcolm’s welcome, generosity and his genuine interest to help those willing to help themselves, will live on for so many whom Malcolm invested into. You’ll be dearly missed Malcolm, RIP.” – Steve Wren, Squash Canada President

  9. Having reflected on Malcolm’s passing over the past few days and having read many of the wonderful messages from all across the world, it is clear to see the huge impact he had on so many people with his wit, knowledge and absolute confidence in his abilities to impart wisdom to young and old. I like many loved being part of the Ponte set up growing up and thrived when playing for his teams (which is funny in such an individual sport). Malcolm was instrumental in everything I achieved as a player and even now I find myself sharing many of the things he taught me in my own coaching.

    He wanted his players to play with intelligence, skill and grace in order to become a ‘proper player’ but he loved a fighter and a winner, but only if you played the game in the right way. The subconscious lessons in time keeping, reliability, punctuality and communication were also given without me even knowing at the time and are all traits I try my best to uphold today.

    I loved listening to his speeches at club nights, exhibitions or presentations, as the crowd fell about with laughter as he teased, praised and slated many of his audience, but he loved his players and always gave them just enough praise to give them the determination to reach their potential. Alley games, three ball, doubles, 2 against 1 were all visionary to enable players to adapt to different situations and improve skill levels. How I miss those days!

    Even though it was 30 years ago, I vividly remember smashing a rolling nick at Ponte and looking up to the balcony for Malcolm’s approval, only to be met with a smiling face, a twinkle in his eye and the words ‘next time be more balanced’.

    Condolences to his family and friends and in particular James, Camps, Beech & Toddy!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you for everything you taught me and for so many memories that shaped my early years!

    RIP Malc!

  10. So sorry to hear the loss of a good man! I will always remember after a coaching session when he pulled me aside to show me his scrap book with pictures of his son James; you could see just how proud he was of his son as he told me about James’s new acting career on stage as well as obviously his squash success!

  11. I met Malcolm as an 11 year old at Gresham’s school. I had no idea then, that it was his first term at the school too, he just seems to command any area he was involved in.

    Rugby was the story I’d like to relate (squash came a few weeks later 🙂
    The way it worked was the 13 year olds played on the top pitch, and it flowed down by age. Not with Malcolm it didn’t!
    ‘Boy!, yes you boy!” A booming voice came over the fields. No one, including the teacher on our pitch had a clue what was about to happen.
    He had spotted a talent on our 11 year old pitch, and he wanted it. To everyone’s amazement, a ‘senior’ boy was consigned to walk over to the junior rugby field, an 11 year old moved across to the Senior team.

    This “Boy!!” call happened regularly, with a dejected older boy being dismissed to the kids’ pitch, and a young kid moving into the senior field.

    I can now see how shocking an action like this was to the centuries of order and hierarchy that surround school life. Not to Malcolm though, he wanted talent, and he was going to get it. (My mate Gawain was pulled over quickly btw (a bloody good scrum half until it became all about squash 🙂

    In no time, came the direction. ‘You lots, are all going to come to the squash courts tomorrow”
    ‘Whats Squish ? Sir?”
    ‘It’s called Squash, and don’t you ever forget it !”

    I’m a 60 plus bloke now, proud to have been able to stay in touch with Malcolm (and James) over the years despite lots of geography.

    Sir, you gave me the game of my life, and I thank you for that, for the friendships, and the lessons learnt. Mike

  12. Having reflected on Malcolm’s passing over the past few days and having read many of the wonderful messages from all across the world, it is clear to see the huge impact he had on so many people with his wit, knowledge and absolute confidence in his abilities to impart wisdom to young and old. I like many loved being part of the Ponte set up growing up and thrived when playing for his teams (which is funny in such an individual sport). Malcolm was instrumental in everything I achieved as a player and even now I find myself sharing many of the things he taught me in my own coaching.

    He wanted his players to play with intelligence, skill and grace in order to become a ‘proper player’ but he loved a fighter and a winner, but only if you played the game in the right way. The subconscious lessons in time keeping, reliability, punctuality and communication were also given without me even knowing at the time and are all traits I try my best to uphold today.

    I loved listening to his speeches at club nights, exhibitions or presentations, as the crowd fell about with laughter as he teased, praised and slated many of his audience, but he loved his players and always gave them just enough praise to give them the determination to reach their potential. Alley games, three ball, doubles, 2 against 1 were all visionary to enable players to adapt to different situations and improve skill levels. How I miss those days!

    Even though it was 30 years ago, I vividly remember smashing a rolling nick at Ponte and looking up to the balcony for Malcolm’s approval, only to be met with a smiling face, a twinkle in his eye and the words ‘next time be more balanced’.

    Condolences to his family and friends and in particular James, Camps, Beech & Toddy!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you for everything you taught me and for so many memories that shaped my early years!

    RIP Malc!

  13. Feeling the great loss of Malcolm Willstrop, such an influential person and coach. Myself and my sister attended his northern centre of excellence squads as juniors and he inspired me at the start of my squash career to want to be a better player. He always took great time and effort to invest in each young player . Religiously writing up feedback comments for each player from the day’s squad. He really cared about the development of each and every player and I am forever grateful for his investment in me as a junior which enabled me to go on to enjoy competitive squash into my adult life. I can still hear his booming voice and see him looking down over the balconies of squash clubs across the north: Durham squash club , Northumberland, Pontefract, Redcar to name a few. We will forever remember you and sending our condolences to all the family .
    Heather Joy nee Sinclair

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