Back in 1972 on the way back from the Hollander-Horand tournament in Rochester NY, the founders of the Albany Open (Bill Huff, Sal Pirri, Joe Early, Dick VanPatten, George Bruda) made a stop at the Diplomat Bar in Utica, NY. It was there that they decided they could run a tournament in Albany. (Typical handball players - had to stop for beer on the way back from a tournament.)
The first year of the Albany Open was 1973 and it was held at the downtown (Washington Ave.) YMCA in Albany on 4 courts with just one division/event. There were 50 players in attendance that first year, which grew to 56 in the second, and then to 80 players in the third year. The original Directors of the tournament were some of Albany's finest players and legends:
This group ran it from its inception in 1973 until 1986. Following that have been a succession of Directors:
|Ed Miller||1988 - 1991|
|1994 - 2007|
|Jim Giner||2007 - 2010|
|John Bossung||2012 -|
Additional players that have been heavily involved with all phases of the tournament over the later years are:
|Fred Seestadt Jr.||Hospitality|
In 1979, the Y hosted 108 players, still in one division, and STILL playing on only 4 courts. Play began on Friday morning at 11:00 am and all players appeared for their scheduled matches.
In 1982 the tournament finally outgrew the YMCA with its 4 courts and moved to East Greenbush to be hosted by Club East which operated as a 10 court facility. The tournament was conducted there in 1982 and 1983.
In 1984 the Open made its debut at the 18 court Colonie Court Club. It is still hosted there over 25 years later, although with just 7 courts now.
In 1986 the tournament hosted the year's first Pro-stop. In addition to the 16 seeded Pro players the tournament drew another 271 players.
For a view of the winners of the 40+ years of this fine tournament, check out the link on the home page or click here.