(Carlisle, Pa.) – Dickinson College has announced the hiring of Christopher Fernandez (St. Lawrence '15) as the new head coach of the men and women's squash programs. Fernandez becomes the second head coach in the history of the program. Fernandez succeeds Chris Sachvie, who served as Dickinson's first head coach since the program's inception in 2014. Sachvie accepted a coaching position at Columbia University.
Interim Director of Athletics Joel Quattrone believes that the squash programs will continue to thrive under the direction of Fernandez.
"Chris Fernandez is a young man of great character," Quattrone expressed. "We are excited to see the enthusiasm and energy he will bring to our squash programs. Our student-athletes are used to this energy, and can't wait to get started."
Fernandez is set to start at Dickinson on October 15, 2018 as the Red Devils prepare to enter their fifth season of competition.
Fernandez's Strong Squash Foundation
Fernandez is a 2015 graduate of St. Lawrence University. As a dual sport squash and baseball student-athlete for the Saints, Fernandez played squash for Sachvie in 2012 and 2013. Sachvie was an assistant coach at St. Lawrence, prior starting the program at Dickinson.
Fernandez comes to Carlisle from New York City, where he has served as Director of CitySquash since 2015. Fernandez was responsible for all aspects of the program at CitySquash, mentoring over 120 athletes from the youth, middle school, and high school levels. In addition, Fernandez served as the head squash pro at the Boathouse Field Club.
In collegiate squash, Fernandez served as the head coach of the women's club team at Fordham University in the winter of 2016. He also spent three summers with Racquet Up Detroit, providing education and instruction to create interest and growth of the sport. In the summer of 2013 he was a media intern with U.S. Squash.
Fernandez enjoyed an outstanding playing career after being introduced to the sport in middle school. He earned a scholarship to the Canterbury School, in Milford, Connecticut, and would go on to set the all-time win record, finishing as a two-time New England Champion with an overall mark of 64-6.
He broke into the top-9 in his first season at St. Lawrence and was a four-year starter. He led the Saints to three top-10 national rankings, finishing as the national runner-up, ranked #2 in the nation in 2015. Fernandez proved to be a talented and versatile student-athlete, walking on and earning a starting spot on the Saints' baseball team as well. He led the team in batting average, hits and extra-base hits as a senior.
Fernandez holds a Level 1 Coaching Certification and has served on the Squash and Education Alliance Committee.
Q&A with Coach Fernandez
Fernandez checked in with Assistant Athletic Director Christian Payne, for a Q&A to share his perspective on becoming Dickinson's new head coach.
Christian Payne: Why is this opportunity at Dickinson special for you?
Chris Fernandez: Joining the coaching staff at Dickinson is truly a special opportunity for me because it's a chance to prove myself as a young head coach. Dickinson was very supportive and welcoming throughout my visit, which made me really want to be a part of this family. It's also really special to me because I've seen how far this program has come, and the excitement around squash itself and the program here.
CP: What are your goals for the Dickinson Squash program?
CF: My goal for the Dickinson squash program for this year is to end the 2018-19 season ranked in between 12-15 in the nation.
CP: How would you describe your coaching style?
CF: I believe in developing hardworking, respectful and competitive young men and women. I am big into teaching and expressing the collaboration between sports and life. I am also a coach that prioritizes the importance of the various aspect of competing at a high level, which encompass both the physical and the mental.
CP: How have your past experiences in squash/leadership prepared you for this coaching opportunity?
CF: From a leadership standpoint, my experience as a captain at St. Lawrence University my senior year definitely helped. As one of the leaders of the team that year, I had to juggle a lot of egos and diversity in cultures, while not allowing the pressure of competing for a national championship get the best of us. That year I had the opportunity to work very closely with our coaching staff and help with some of the things they did aside from just coaching the teams.
My playing experience has also prepared me for this coaching opportunity. I've played competitive squash for over 15 years now, and have had success on and off the court through all divisions, from juniors, to high school/college and even after college. I've been fortunate enough to learn from some great coaches while growing up. These people have taught me a lot about the game, and perspectives on both playing and coaching.
CP: What would you like to say to Red Devil nation, and the Dickinson community before you arrive on campus?
CF: I am truly grateful to have such a great opportunity ahead of me in joining the Dickinson family. It is an honor to join a program that not only has grown and had success rather quickly, but also to be in a position with the current student-athletes to continue success for years to come. I am looking forward to continuing the growth of this squash program. GO RED DEVILS!
Dickinson Squash Set to Continue Momentum in Fifth Season
The College Squash Association (CSA) awarded Dickinson College with the 2018 Women's Most Improved Team Award. The award recognizes a team that has improved in the rankings while surpassing other strong opposing teams. The honor was first given in 2010, and is voted on by all varsity women's teams. Dickinson improved five ranking positions, moving from 23rd in 2017 to 18th last winter.
The men's program has also steadily been on the rise, earning the CSA's Barnaby Award as the most improved team in 2016, elevating from 55th to 26th in the national rankings. The Red Devils advanced to the finals of the Conroy Cup before falling to Western Ontario in the championship match that season.
In 2017 the Red Devils moved into the C-Division and finished with a #22 ranking, falling in the consolation final of the Summers Cup. This past season in 2018, Dickinson advanced to the finals of the Summers Cup in 2018 and captured the Division with a thrilling 5-4 victory over rival Franklin & Marshall, to earn the program's highest ranking at #17.