Home of Harvard Squash and Tennis
Harvard's Murr Center opened in May of 1998. While the building houses the state-of-the-art facilities for the squash and tennis teams, it services the entire intercollegiate program -it is a centrally-located home for the department's administration, and also houses a newly-revamped strength and conditioning facility that serves the community as a recreational hub. The dedication plaque in the front lobby reads "Michael C. Murr '73, MBA '75, Longtime friend of Harvard, whose vision and generosity offer new generations of Harvard men and women the opportunity to realize their athletic potential."
The showpiece of the Murr Center is its Lee Family Hall of Athletic History. Along the walls are themed panels highlighting the Crimson's long and rich athletic tradition, and there are also free-standing displays of the proud tradition of the nation's oldest - and largest - Division I athletic program. This space is available to be rented for functions or events and is also open to the public during normal business hours.
The Murr Center tennis courts, a state-of-the-art complex complete with spectator seating, received a 1999 USTA Facility Award which recognizes high standards in public tennis facilities. Its six indoor courts, combined with the 18-court Beren outdoor facility gives the tennis teams arguably the finest facilities in the Northeast.
The building also houses the 14 internationally-sized Murr Center squash courts, giving Harvard a home deserved of its stature as one of the nation's top programs. Harvard boasts the finest college squash facility in the country, complete with five feature courts that accommodate close to 1,000 spectators. And its location, adjacent to Harvard Stadium, ties it into the framework of Harvard's athletic landscape. In 2006, Harvard installed a McWill four-wall glass show court that allows viewing from all sides of the court, including stands behind the back wall.
A major video project was completed in 2008 as nine video cameras were installed to allow for digital recording of practices and home matches that are all played back on a large HDTV. During home matches, this television also serves as another way fans can see the action on all the courts. The Murr Center also boasts the largest scoreboard in all of college squash. This scoreboard is updated during home matches with live results from all the matches, allowing fans to have a great spectator experience. The varsity teams have a team room complete with spacious chairs, refrigerator, stringing machines, television, swing analysis equipment and much more.
For more than six decades, squash events took place at Hemenway Gymnasium near the Law School. But with the sport changing to softball in recent years and with the old Hemenway Courts being of smaller size, neither Crimson squad had been able to host a match and the teams even traveled off campus to practice on regulation courts.
The courts reside on ground level of the building and can be accessed from the Murr Center's second floor. Also housed on the second floor is the John M. Barnaby II Squash and Tennis Galleries, named for long-time Crimson squash mentor John ("Jack") M. Barnaby II '32. Barnaby served as head coach of the Harvard men's squash program from 1937 to 1976, and won 17 national team championships while accumulating an incredible record of 346-95 (.785) in those 36 seasons. He then returned to head the women's program for three seasons from 1979-82, and his teams went 28-4 (.875). Barnaby's combined coaching record for both programs was 374-99 (.791) in 39 seasons. He also served as head coach of the Harvard men's tennis team for nearly 40 years and led the Crimson to 371 wins.