Western to honour squash legend Fairs at dedication

By Communications Staff
August 15, 2013

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Fairs portraitGenevieve Moreau, Western News

Legendary Western Mustangs squash coach Jack Fairs will add one more item to his lengthy list of accomplishments when the university holds a special ceremony to name its squash courts in his honour. The dedication of the courts, which will now be known as the Jack Fairs Squash Courts, will take place from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21 at the Western Student Recreation Centre.

A former Western student, Fairs joined the university’s staff in 1947 fresh out of the masters in Physical Education program at Columbia. After splitting time between responsibilities with the football and basketball programs, Fairs took over Western’s squash program in 1962 and began to turn the team around.

He had significant experience with racquet sports as one of the top tennis coaches in Canada and only needed two years to lead the squash team to their first championship of his tenure, taking home the OUA title in 1964. Yet, it wouldn’t be until the 1970s that Fairs would show just how dominant his teams could truly be. Beginning in 1970-71, he led the program to nine out of a possible 10 OUA championships in the decade and in 1977 he began a long tradition of success in America, helping the team claim their first U.S. intercollegiate squash title and place second at the U.S. National Team Championship.

After experiencing a three-year drought in the early 1980s, Fairs got back to his winning ways in 1984, taking home the first of eight OUA championships in the decade. No matter how dominant Fairs’ teams were in the second half of the 1980s, however, there’s no way that anyone could have predicted the streak that he would start in the 1983-84 season. The three missed opportunities at the beginning of the decade would be his last to this day, with his teams taking home every single OUA Men’s Squash Championship in the 30 seasons since.

Between all of his championships, Fairs also had time to establish a long and successful teaching career at the school, serving as a valued member of the Western faculty from 1947-89. He is also recognized as one of the founding fathers of Western’s Physical Education Department, which became the Faculty of Kinesiology in 1972.

For his many accomplishments, Fairs has received an equal amount of prestigious recognitions. He is a member of seven different sports halls of fame, including Western’s W Club Hall of Fame, the London Sports Hall of Fame and the National Intercollegiate Squash Association Hall of Fame. He is also a three-time member of the Mustangs Football Wall of Champions and received the John McManus award earlier this year as the OUA coach who has exemplified the highest ideals and qualities of sportsmanship and service while coaching university sport.


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