Bob Hetherington

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Squash, Tennis Champion

In the annals of Buffalo sports, Rev. Bob Hetherington is unique – a man of the cloth (white) who, during a long career in service to God and parishoners, maintained a parallel track in athletics comparable to that of any Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame inductee. Whether in tennis or in squash, “The Rev” was simply dominant with a racquet in his hand.

At Yale, Hetherington became one of the country’s top open squash players. He won the Canadian Amateur squash title in 1965 and later achieved national top-10 status for 13 consecutive years on this side of the border. One of the most notable highlights of Hetherington’s squash career was a victory over the legendary (and All-Time top 10 player) Hashim Kahn in the Canadian Open in three straight games. After arriving in Buffalo to accept a position as assistant pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in 1969, Hetherington won the City of Buffalo Squash Championship 13 straight years.

The Rev was equally effective with a tennis racket. His rise to prominence began with a Western Pennsylvania Junior Championship at age 16, and continued with Western Pennsylvania Men’s Tournament titles at ages 19, 24 and 26. Hetherington later won six Muny Open titles and four City Open titles. His 1977 finals match against teen sensation Jimmy Arias remains one of the most compelling matches in local history. In 1971, Hetherington teamed with Charlie Garfinkel to win the doubles title in the National Public Park Tennis Tournament, and the duo was honored that winter as co-winners of the prestigious Amateur Athlete of the Year Award by the Buffalo Athletic Club. Hetherington also won a National Public Parks singles title in 1973.

The Rev was renown for his sound fundamentals and cool court disposition, traits upon which he could rely as age advanced. After his move to Richmond in 1984, local players could breather easier, but national titles continued to fall. Hetherington captured the national 40-and-over singles squash championship in 1984, the U.S. Tennis Association’s 45-and-over grass court championship in 1986, and the national 50-and-over singles title in 1996.

The City of Buffalo was truly blessed to have Rev. Hetherington grace local courts, and the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame is likewise honored to accept an inductee who long maintained such a high standard of excellence.