Edward Thomas Reid (1921-2018)
January 23, 2018 by Office of the President
To the campus community,
I write to report the passing of Coach in the Department of Athletics Emeritus Edward T. Reid at his home in Wethersfield, CT, on January 11, 2018, at the age of 96. Ed coached the men’s tennis and squash teams at the College from 1969 to 1988, and was the first coach of Bowdoin’s women’s tennis (1973-1988) and squash (1976-1988) teams.
Born on August 21, 1921, Ed was one of twelve children of James and Mary Reid. He grew up in Brooklyn and in Northport, NY. His father was one of the founders of the US Professional Tennis Association, and Ed honed his skills at the Crescent Athletic Club in Northport, where his father was the club pro. By the time he was a junior, he was ranked in the top-twenty players in the country. In 1939 he was undefeated as captain of the New York private school champion St. John’s Prep team and won the Eastern Boys’ Doubles Championship at Forest Hills. He attended St. John’s University before enlisting in the US Coast Guard; he served in the North Atlantic.
After the war, Ed became a professional tennis player. He worked at various clubs, including the Merion Cricket Club in Philadelphia and in Rhode Island at the Point Judith Country Club, Agawam Hunt Club, and Newport Casino. He was for twenty-two years the full-time tennis and squash professional at the Hartford Golf Club. Ed and his wife, Delores, raised their family in Wethersfield. In organizing tournaments and teaching youth tennis classes, Ed helped to make the Hartford area a center for racquet sports during his tenure there. He won the US Professional Squash Racquets Championships in 1947, 1949, 1950, and 1952, and was ranked as the top player in the world before he sustained a knee injury in 1954. In 1962 he was awarded the Joseph Deitz Trophy as the professional “who has done the most for the amateur game.” He was among the first to promote indoor clay-court tennis competition with the opening of The Tennis Club in Bloomfield, CT, in 1963. Ed was a member of the winning pro team at the USPTA Intersectional Team Championships in 1965 and 1966. He kept all these remarkable accomplishments in perspective, telling Bowdoin magazine in 1988, “People know about my history, and they’re tired of hearing about my being a squash champion. After all, that and fifty cents will get you through the tolls.”
For a world-class competitor like Ed Reid, the transition to coaching tennis and squash at a Division-III school took surprisingly little time. Ed’s natural abilities as a teacher, his honest and fair opinions and advice (offered with characteristic humor and wisdom), and his dedication to his players and to sportsmanship yielded impressive results. He once summed up his approach to tennis and squash in these words: “I’ve never liked someone who storms off the court when they lose. They’re supposed to figure out what they did wrong. When I grew up, I wasn’t interested in whether I won or lost—though I never knew anybody who wanted to win more than me—instead I was interested in what I could correct, what I could improve on.” Ed took on the additional responsibilities of coaching the women’s tennis and squash teams in the years after the College became coeducational. The women’s tennis team won the state title from 1982 to 1985. He was named the USPTA’s Coach of the Year in 1977 for his work with the men’s tennis team, and his squash teams were often nationally ranked. He was twice elected president of the New England section of the USPTA, in 1979 and 1980. He was named to the College Squash Hall of Fame in 1992, the Maine State Squash Hall of Fame in 2008, and the USPTA-New England Hall of Fame in 2014.
The family has suggested that, in lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in Ed’s memory to the Polar Bear Athletic Fund, 4100 College Station, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME 04011. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
We in the Bowdoin community count ourselves fortunate to have been touched by Ed’s remarkable life and spirit over the years. We extend our sympathies to his family during this time: his daughter, Melanie, and her husband, Kurt, of San Francisco, CA; three sons, Tim and his wife, Carolyn, of Avon, CT; Greg and his wife, Carol, of Naples, FL; and Jeff of Rocky Hill, CT; a brother Bobby; three sisters, Fanny, Buddy, and Betty, all of Long Island; as well as a number of nieces and nephews.