Volume 92, Issue 4
Friday, June 5, 1998
george likes his chicken spicy
Awarding a lifetime Mustang
By Brendan Howe
After coaching at Western for longer than most university coaches have lived, 74-year-old squash coach Jack Fairs has won the inaugural 3M Coaching Award.
Fairs, who started off as a basketball and football coach back in 1947, said he was in Florida last May at the time the award was announced and was surprised but pleased to hear he had won it. It was re-presented to him last Thursday, as he was absent when it was done initially.
"When you get a nice award like that it's really a great honour," he said. "It's really gratifying."
The award is given to a male and female coach in each of the five regional Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union conferences, while another award will be given by 3M at the Canadian Coaching Association meeting in July. Fairs was also awarded the National Intercollegiate Squash Racquets Association Lifetime Achievement Award at Princeton University last year.
Fairs graduated from Western in the '40s with an honours in chemistry and then went on to get his masters in physical education at Columbia University in New York. He was instrumental in starting the physical education program at Western, now called kinesiology.
As Fairs approaches his 75th birthday in August, he acknowledged working at the same place for 50 years is a long time but there's a reason for staying. "I've had such a great time, I love Western," he said. "I couldn't imagine a better place to work."
Fairs also noted that the university has been very good to him and he enjoys living in the London community.
Western's squash team won its 15th consecutive Ontario University Athletic Association championship this year. Since the 1970/71 season the team has either won the championship or come in second, winning 24 out of 28 years.
"We win because we've got good players," Fairs said. "Coaching is all about surrounding yourself with people who can play."
Fairs has been coaching the squash team since 1962.
Justin Hostick, a member of the team, said Fairs is a great person to be around and a great coach. "The quality of the team is definitely due to him," he said. "He attracts squash players to come who come for the quality of the team. They know they're going to win every year."
Hostick added that his coach is a good teacher and always helps the team members improve their game.
Intercollegiate athletics program chair Darwin Semotiuk said the program takes pride that they have been fortunate enough to have Fairs as one of their coaches for so many years. "It can't be matched. I think he's in a class by itself."
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