Legendary Mustangs coach Fairs receives McManus Award

By Communications Staff
May 10, 2013

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Western Mustangs legend Jack Fairs was honoured by Ontario University Athletics (OUA) with the John McManus Award at the OUA Honour Awards banquet Thursday evening in Gravenhurst, Ont.

The McManus Award honours an OUA coach who exemplifies the highest ideals and qualities of sportsmanship and service while engaged in coaching in university sport.

Since joining the staff at Western in 1947, Fairs has served as a coach for a number of sports including football and basketball, but he’s best known as the coach of the Mustangs men’s squash team. Taking over as head coach for the 1962-63 season, Fairs has become one of the longest serving coaches in Canadian university sport history, and the 2012-13 season marked his 51st season with the team.

Of those 51 seasons, 40 have ended with Western capturing the OUA Men’s Squash Championship, including every OUA Championship for the past 30 seasons, beginning in 1983-84. It’s a championship legacy that few could ever dream of, and will likely never be matched.

Befitting someone with such an amazing career, the honour is one of many he has received as Fairs is a member of no less than seven different halls of fame, including Western’s W Club Hall of Fame, the London Sports Hall of Fame, the National Intercollegiate Squash Association Hall of Fame, and is a three-time member of the Mustangs Football Wall of Champions.

A native of Tillsonburg, Ont., Fairs played football, basketball and tennis growing up, including winning the WOSSA Doubles Tennis Championship as a Grade 11 student in 1940. Fairs enrolled at Western in 1942, playing football and basketball while earning his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. He then went on to New York’s Columbia University and earned a master’s degree in Physical Education in 1947.

After graduating from Columbia and returning to Western, Fairs joined the London Majors of the Senior Intercounty Baseball League, playing with the team until 1953 and helped the squad win the North American Sandlot Championship in 1948.

Along with his coaching duties at Western, Fairs was one of the founding fathers of Western’s physical education (now Kinesiology) department, before retiring from teaching in 1989.


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