1937 - 2023
Don played a significant role in growing the GVTTC in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. He served on the EC and was a board member. As a player he was a pillar 1 man for many years in the Classic League with a USATT rating that was always 1800+. He even won Gold at the World Senior Games for his age bracket defeating a Russian opponent in the finals. His game consisted of smooth forehand and the deadly Phantom long pips on the backhand. Everyone dreaded playing Don because he mastered the rubber that made everyone miss …. Phantom … why? Just because. That backhand phantom block was a nightmare for most and if that wasn’t enough, you play to the forehand and he had a strong forehand loop followed by smash. He was solid both ways and you knew you were in for a long night if he was a match.
"Personally, as a young player focusing on my own matches I would look forward to watching those battle matches between the pips or anti player bunch. Don and that cast of players would always entertain and seemed like always ended in a deuce in the 5th showdown that could be called on expedite rule at times …. LOL. It was a different game using defense to setup the offense. Don versus people like Bob Brickell, Robert Maronian, Chris Olan Sr, Walt Soffer, Folk Hioe, Tom Wood and John VanDuerson would always yield the longest yet intense chess matches that I miss watching to this day." ~Andre Maronian
“I knew Don from GVTTC, only, but found him to be a well read individual and a fierce competitor. When we played, his 15 foot off the table serve gave me fits at times. He was honest and had a lot of love for the sport. He was a man of integrity and a rule follower. RIP Don.” ~ Jay Gelb
"Don was always the ultimate gentleman, at the table and away from it. He liked music, and we saw him more than once at RPO concerts after he retired from table tennis." ~Berl Stein
1926 - 2014
Bob can easily be in the discussion for being one of the most important and influential members in GVTTC history. Everyone around the US knew his name and accomplishments as a Junior, Adult and Senior. If you travelled to a tournament and mentioned you're from Rochester, NY, you couldn't finish that conversation without hearing a story about Bob Brickell. He served on the GVTTC board for many years and was know
How does one attach a value to the years of contributions made by Robert "Bob" Brickell... to the development, growth, and status of table tennis in the Rochester area? Just what was it about Bob Brickell - other than his eight decade involvement in the sport - that made him so special, and how did such a great contributor achieve so much success and help so many? It is really something that can't be quantified in titles or trophies, though there were many. Nor can we re-live his greatest accomplishments in any way by browsing through old scrapbooks filled with headlines featuring our local table tennis legends.
Not only did he play but for many years was the primary supplier of table tennis equipment including manufacturing his own blades known as the "Brick Bat". His game was the most brutal challenge in Rochester as he used different pips rubber on both sides and he had the ability to flip mid point forehand/backhand.
Accomplishments include many USATT top finishes as a Junior and Senior. He won is first title as a 15 year old in 1941 and continued winning title over his 8 decades in the sport. We found him ranked #14 in the US for over 60 year old players in 1995. As we get more, we'll update this area.
"Bob was a mentor and took all juniors under his wing. He coached me in the early years and was the most respected player in Rochester for his personality, stories and game. Playing him was as unique a matchup I'd ever had to deal with and yes .... the KING of nets and edges! I loved watching my dad Robert Maronian for the many years in those long long battles." ~Andre Maronian
“Bob was a humble person, giving of himself to others, and respected by his many students and friends, his reward was the gratitude he received from others. A talented athlete himself with a degree in physical education from Brockport, he could have coached talented athletes in a number of sports, but, instead, dedicated himself to teaching and recognizing all students, especially those most physically challenged, rather than catering to those most gifted. The attention and respect he gave to the dignity of more challenged students, and his ability to make them believe in themselves, was perhaps his lasting legacy as a teacher. .” ~ Dave Hunt
USA Ranking - 1995
1957 - 2016
Pauli left us way earlier than deserved and was a regular at GVTTC in the 2000's all the way up to near his passing. He was the most humble and kind person you could interact with who was fun to joke with and he loved the game. He was a consistent #2 man in the Classic League who was a true benchmark opponent for anyone looking to better their game. Although he struggled with MS, you would never had known it while watching him play. In fact, it was the moment where we're sure he felt his medical issues weren't in the way.
"Pauli was a wonderful man and a great table tennis player. He had that gift of "talent" that is not given to many. He was also one of the most humble and nice men that we had in our club. He loved table tennis, even with his latest medical issues stopping him from playing in the classic league and open play. We saw him at the club several times over the last few weeks, still hammering away at his opponents!" ~Ray Mack
"As a player, I would DREAD when it was Pauli week because he was a fierce competitor. I needed 20 gatorades for that match and even when I won, I would joke with others saying that I felt like I lost. Many times, in the middle of a 7 game battle royal, I would look over to another teammate and say …. “He’s not human!!!” Pauli had this way of disrespecting your best shots that could work against someone else. As an example, Pauli missed the class called “how to chop a strong chop” because he would just smack through it like you did nothing. When I would try a heavy chop, I would imagine him thinking “Foolish human … don’t you know this is nothing to me?!?”. This would be followed by a flat hit smash that I’m convinced removed letters off of the ball. Pauli would push me into defense mode quickly no matter what I tried to do and I was always so impressed with his game." ~Andre Maronian
“I'll always be very appreciative and grateful for Saturday open play with Pauli ... his actions and words helped me a lot in my efforts to better my game, and his patience with a player of my lesser level was humbling. Hopefully he passed knowing what impact he had on people.” ~ Ed Bizari
"Pauli is truly a gentleman both on & off the court. He has so much for us to learn from. He is a kind & gentle giant. Will miss him a lot." ~Peter Yu
When you play against Pauli either at the Saturday morning practices or Tuesday night leagues, it is nothing to do with winning or losing that match. You basically get the enjoyment of playing against a true gentleman and a classy player. Not just me but for all the GVTTC community, he has always been a passionate player even during his recent medical issues. I will definitely miss Pauli a lot." ~Aydin Aykanat