Doug Ganim has long been recognized for his excellence on the racquetball court and admired for his many contributions off of it, but now the former Buckeye is adding one more feather to his hat.
USA Racquetball announced that Ganim, who graduated from Ohio State in 1987 with a degree in business, is being awarded the sport’s highest honor: a spot in the hall of fame.
“It means just about everything to me,” said Ganim, who will be inducted in the amateur open category. “I’ve been playing (racquetball) full-time since I was 14 years old, and it’s really defined my life.”
The Racquetball Hall of Fame’s main goal is to recognize those who have had a profound impact on the sport. Individuals are nominated and then voted on by a committee. To date, only 57 players have been enshrined, according to the USA Racquetball website.
Getting to the pinnacle of one’s sport is obviously no easy task. For Ganim, hard work and a clearly defined vision helped him forge his future in the game, he said.
He went on to say that the important decisions he made at a young age helped propel him further into his career. One such decision was where to attend college.
Because of how salient the sport was in his life, Ganim said he opted to attend OSU because of its close proximity to the interstates. That made traveling to tournaments much simpler and effective.
“I played in a tournament every single weekend the entire four years I was at Ohio State,” Ganim said. “From Ohio State I could get north, south, east or west, and I did.”
All that work Ganim put forth while in college paid off nearly immediately after he graduated, as in 1988 he captured gold in doubles at the International Racquetball Federation World Championships. He went on to achieve that same crown twice more.
Furthering his international doubles success, Ganim won gold in the 1999 Pan American Games. What’s more, he medaled thrice at the United States Olympic Festivals. These go along with many additional accomplishments and accolades that helped solidify his place in the Racquetball Hall of Fame.
“There is certainly no person who has had a broader impact on the sport of racquetball in the last few years than Doug Ganim,” said Steve Czarnecki, the executive director of USA Racquetball. “His playing accomplishments that he’s being recognized for with this Hall of Fame induction (are) just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what he has contributed to the sport overall.”
As Czarnecki noted, Ganim’s contributions aren’t limited to just what he did on the court.
He has had an important hand in growing the sport and one of its most important events. For more than 20 years, Ganim has helped develop the sport’s foremost championship, the U.S. Open, while also serving an executive role with racquet, equipment and apparel manufacturer HEAD Penn racquetball in that time.
“Running the U.S. Open is virtually running easily the biggest (racquetball) event in the world, and he does an incredible job with it,” said Larry Haemmerle, president of USA Racquetball. “I don’t look at him as just a tournament director or any other player. I value him as a partner.”
Ganim, who now resides outside Columbus in Westerville with his family, has also been the head of the Ohio Racquetball Association for more than two decades. He will be inducted into the Racquetball Hall of Fame in May at a ceremony held in Denver.
“He’s really been the most successful person when it comes to developing outside investments and sponsorships into the sport of racquetball,” Czarnecki said. “He has had a great impact on the sport in a variety of ways.”
Ganim noted the ways that racquetball positively impacted his life. He said he has also developed many lasting relationships throughout his 30-year career and is thankful to have met the people he has.
“I hope I’ve left the sport in better shape than how I found it,” Ganim said.