Volume 91, Issue 96

Tuesday, March 31, 1998



It's only Fairs that courts named for coach

By Justin Klein
Gazette Staff

For the past 36 years, Jack Fairs has been contributing to the academic and athletic departments at the University of Western Ontario – the last 21 years as head coach of the men's squash team.

On Saturday, the GoodLife Fitness Clubs of London honoured Fairs by unveiling four brand new squash courts with his name on them.

David Patchell-Evans, the owner and founder of GoodLife, was one of Fairs' students when he attended Western. Although he did not have Fairs as a coach, Patchell-Evans said his life was affected by Fairs' personal guidance in the classroom, where he taught physical education. "What he taught me in the classroom I will never forget," Patchell-Evans said.

He added that Fairs' philosophy in the classroom was that one must physically succeed before they can mentally succeed.

This phrase rang true in Patchell-Evans' ears for many years. He believed it in so much that when his business was established, its motto centered around Fairs' philosophy.

When Fairs first made his appearance at Western his responsibilities were only in the classroom, but it took only a few years until his athletic knowledge and abilities could not keep him off the fields any longer.

After spending 15 years testing his coaching skills with Western's basketball and football teams, Fairs found a place to call home with the varsity squash team.

Since 1976, Fairs has built a squash empire at Western. It is difficult to define Fairs' goal for success, but if coaching a player to become a national champion in his first season with the team is a definition of success, then he met his goal early.

Since then, winning 15 straight provincial championships and helping a Canadian player claim All-American status two years in a row has added to the goal.

Pete Guildenhuys, the two-time all-American, is one of the many players to have become a champion under Fairs' coaching.

"Jack is a really supportive coach," Guildenhuys said. "He really cares a lot about the game and the players and if you have potential within you, he will draw it out."

However, when Fairs was asked how much credit he deserved for the success his past students have endured, only a modest answer could be heard.

"We have always had an excellent OUA team with great depth," Fairs reflected. "I just do my job and the guys do the hard work."

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998