Ann Stephens, Norm Coe, Pam Buckingham and Paul Steel join the 16 greats who have been voted into the Hall of Fame over the previous two years.
The latest four will be formally inducted at the 2011 New Zealand Squash Hall of Fame ceremony at the Remuera Rackets Club on November 25.
For 15 years Ann Stephens (nee Mackenzie) was the leading New Zealand women’s player. Playing an athletic, robust game she won five New Zealand titles in from 1956-63 and represented New Zealand from 1960-68. She was part of Mitchell Cup-winning teams with Oamaru and Hamilton. Her record would have been even more impressive but for the fact that she divided her time between squash and badminton, at which she was also a New Zealand champion. In 1957 she played in both sports’ national championships on the same weekend.
The left-handed Norm Coe was one of New Zealand’s leading squash players through the 1950s and early 1960s. He was runner-up in the New Zealand championship in three consecutive years, 1955-57. However, his biggest contribution to squash was as a coach. Not only did he coach any number of leading players, ranging from Neven Barbour and Trevor Colyer to Joanne Williams and Philippa Beams, but he coached the New Zealand men’s team in four world championships through the 1970s and in the following decade played nearly as big a role coaching national women’s teams.
One of New Zealand’s most accomplished women’s players, she won a national junior title and then, as Pam Buckingham and later Pam Guy won five national senior titles and a New Zealand Open crown. She represented New Zealand with distinction from 1968-79. The 1970s was a time of strength for New Zealand women’s squash, but no-one rose as high in that era as Pam. Her trademarks were her fitness, strength and power and she had a fiercely competitive temperament that helped her to win many close matches.
Hailing from Whakatane, Steel was an only reasonable junior who blossomed once he reached the senior ranks. Physically imposing on the court, he prepared thoroughly, kept himself superbly fit and cut his errors to a minimum, which enabled him to pull through in several important long matches. Steel won the national title in 10 successive years, from 1992-2001, a feat unprecedented among men. He represented New Zealand with pride from 1991-2002 and attained a world ranking as high as No 15.