Purple Pipe: Jack
Three out of four ain't bad, but 30 out of 40 is damn-near unheard of.
ONE OF 30. This week's Purple Pipe winner Jack Fairs is draped in
the latest of his amazing 30 total OUA championship banners.
This week's recipient
of the Purple Pipe is Western squash coach Jack Fairs, winner of 30 Ontario
University Athletics team championships in men's squash over the past
Did we mention his teams have won two National Collegiate Athletics Association
Championships and just won its 20th consecutive OUA title? It is also
worth noting that he coached Western's men's football and basketball teams
from 1947-62, while playing semi-pro baseball from 1947-53 with 1948 North
American Sandlot Champions, the London Nationals, before taking the reigns
of the squash program.
That's a mouthful.
Tucked away in a cozy office in Thames Hall, the always enthusiastic
and very talkative Fairs sits at his desk, rummaging through throngs
of papers and folders, trying to find pictures of various athletes he
has coached over the years.
Fairs speaks highly of his athletes, like a proud father, and remembers
all their names, faces, areas of study, shoe size and what they went on
to after their squash career at Western was over.
So now the Pipe is added to Jack's mile-long and it probably is
literally a mile long list of trophies, championships, plaques,
awards and squash racquets.
Maybe that's why his office seemed so cozy.
Kickin' it: Jack of all trades
The gents from Gazette sports sauntered over to men's squash coach Jack
Fairs's office in Thames Hall to chew the fat with this week's Purple
Pipe winner, who happens to be the first coach to win the prestigious
award. Sitting amongst squash racquets, Fairs talked to us about everything
from baseball to Thai food.
What position did you play when you played football here at Western?
I played halfback on offense and on defense. We all played both ways back
What would you say was the sport that you were best at (considering
he played football, basketball, tennis, squash and... ?)
Baseball. I played catcher for the London Majors in 1948 when we won the
North American semi-pro championships. We were the first team to be inducted
into the London Sports Hall of Fame.
Do you think Jonathan Powers (Canadian bad-boy squash star) is
good for the sport of squash?
I know Jon really well. He has a lot of flare, but he has certainly been
a positive influence for squash.
What is the difference between coaching basketball, football and
Basketball and football players know what it means to be a team. Squash
players have never been in a team atmosphere because they have mainly
only played at clubs. Squash is a lot more individualistic.
In your squash prime, do you think you could have beat (this year's
OUA individual champ from Western) Robert Nigro?
No. I could play, but these guys are good. These are a high quality bunch
of guys playing here now.
What are you doing for Valentine's Day?
I want to take my wife to that Thai restaurant on Wellington Street for
the lunch buffet as a Valentine's treat. If you know my wife she would
say, "Let's not over do it."