Earlier this month, Penn squash assistant coach Gilly Lane coached the US men’s team to a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.
Lane, who graduated from the College in 2007 after earning All-America, All-Ivy and team MVP honors all four years at Penn, served as a player-coach for the men’s team last year in the 2014 Pan American Sports Festival, where the men qualified for this year’s event by placing third.
The head of the US national teams, Paul Assaiante, wanting to maintain continuity between the 2014 and 2015 events, offered Lane the men’s head coach position if he did not make the team as a player.
“I jumped at the chance when they put it out there to me,” Lane said. “It was kind of an easy decision.”
His main duty in Toronto was to ensure the comfort of his team members prior to each match. He has previously competed against the three men he was coaching, which allowed for a quick rapport.
“Having known them, knowing their styles, it definitely helped me, it was an easy transition for me, just knowing them as individuals and having been with them as teammates before, the dynamic has already been set,” Lane said. “My role was more to get them in the frame of mind mentally before each match.”
While he holds that the individual competitions were different from collegiate events, the team events on the international stage remind him of college squash.
“When the team competition began, it had the feel of college matches, where you’re playing for something bigger than yourself. Representing the United States for me is at the top of the list in terms of what you do in sports, and for me the next thing is representing the university that you go to.”
Lane is looking forward to continuing his role with US Squash, where he believes he will coach again in the future, possibly in a different capacity. He will work toward adding more to his impressive professional squash resume.
Per Penn Athletics, as a player he won three Professional Squash Association titles, reached eight PSA Tour finals and held a world ranking as high as 46th — the second-best ranking ever for an American.
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