Gail Ramsay understands what it takes to be a champion. She is not only the first women’s player to ever win four national individual championships while an undergraduate at Penn State but has also led Princeton to five Howe Cup team national titles, as well as four Ivy League championships.
Of course, that doesn't mean Ramsay is about to rest on her laurels. Recently, she has brought in two of the best young players in college squash. In fact, both Maria Elena Ubina (2014) and Olivia Fiechter (2015) have been named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year over the last two seasons.
Three seasons ago, Ramsay helped a lineup that included only one senior starter to an undefeated regular season and the program's sixth Ivy League title. The Tigers had two All-Americas in Julie Cerullo and Libby Eyre that season, and they have contnued to produce multiple All-Americas since. Last season, Princeton led the nation with five All-Americas, including three first-team honorees. The Tigers had three CSA quarterfinalists and two semifinalists, including Nicole Bunyan, who reached the final four as the 11th seed.
An incredible three-year championship run began in the 2006-07 season and was as memorable as any, especially for one magical week at the end of January. Ranked fifth at the time, Princeton knocked off the Nos. 1 (Penn), 2 (Yale) and 3 (Trinity) teams in the nation to claim the top spot in the poll. The Tigers made sure to never leave that spot. It was a different run to the top in 2008, but it was no less satisfying at the end. Princeton began the season as No. 1, but fell twice during the season and entered the Howe Cup, held at Princeton’s own Jadwin Squash Courts, as the second seed. The Tigers reached the finals, where it trailed top-seeded Penn 2-1 after one round, but Ramsay guided the home team to a 6-3 victory and a second straight national crown.
Perhaps no season was as dramatic or rewarding as the 2008-09 season, when Princeton won its third straight Howe Cup championship and its second Ivy League title in three seasons. Princeton went undefeated again, but needed a 3-2 comeback win from All-America Neha Kumar in the regular season finale to defeat Harvard 5-4 and win the Ivy League title. At the Howe Cup championships, Princeton won back-to-back nailbiters to win the title; in the semifinal, Kaitlin Sennatt fought off a match ball for a 10-9 win in the fifth game to send the Tigers to a 5-4 win over Trinity. In the final, both All-America standout Amanda Siebert and Nikki Sequeira recorded 3-2 comeback wins to send Princeton past Harvard by another 5-4 score.
Ramsay, who has served as the president of the Women's College Squash Association, will enter her 21st year as the head coach of women’s squash at Princeton with an outstanding 197-62 career record. Besides winning three Howe Cups in the last decade, as well as the 2007, 2009 and 2013 Ivy League championships, she also guided the Tigers to back-to-back national championships at the Howe Cup in 1998 and 1999 and has coached the individual national champion four times (Katherine Johnson in 1997; Julia Beaver in 1999, 2000 and 2001).
Ramsay, whose teams have annually been among the top Howe Cup challengers, took the Tigers to the 1998 national title and ended Harvard’s five-year run at the event. She also led Princeton to the 1998 Ivy League title, its first since 1991, in a magical undefeated season for the Tigers.
Ramsay is a 1980 graduate of Penn State, where she became the only women’s four-time national intercollegiate individual squash champion. In 2002, the women’s intercollegiate national championship was renamed the Ramsay Cup. Prior to her appointment at Princeton, she had been the head squash and tennis coach at Williams College for six years.
Ramsay was a top-ranked player throughout her playing career, ranking as high as No. 2 in the United States on several occasions. She has also captured two U.S. doubles and seven U.S. mixed doubles titles with her brother Bill.
A two-time member of the U.S. national team, Ramsay captained the 1985 team on its trip through Ireland and also was on the 1983 team’s trip to Australia for the World Championships.
Ramsay has coached at the Heights Casino Club, Uptown Squash Club and NYU, while also playing on the professional circuit.
Ramsay was inducted into the CSA Hall of Fame as a player in 1995.
|Totals||197-62||93-35||4 Ivy/5 National|