Jack Fairs has worked at the University of Western Ontario for over half a century as a teacher, mentor, researcher and coach. He is well known and respected for his extensive contributions in physical education and coaching, particularly in the sport of squash. He retired in 1988 but still continues to coach squash at his alma mater where he is professor emeritus of kinesiology. Commitment to coaching has been a hallmark of his distinguished career.
Incredible as it may seem today, he played and coached five sports during his lifetime: football, basketball, baseball, tennis, and squash. Even more he produced nationals champions in tennis, football and squash.
In squash, for example, CSA Hall of Famer Phil Mohtadi won three Canadian Open hardball championships (1976, 1977, 1980) and Scott Dulmage won the US National hardball championships (1988). Both Mohtadi (1976) and Dulmage (1989) won the US Intercollegiate championships. Cornell coach Scott Stoneburgh captured three Canadian Open Hardball Championships (1991,1992,1993). Squash-at-large knows Jack best for the record setting play of the UWO squash team.
Since 1970 his teams have won 31 team titles and 21 singles titles in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) play. Their record of 21 consecutive team and 31 titles overall make them the most successful team in UWO history. During his tenure UWO has ranked in the upper echelon of US intercollegiate squash. It won team titles (in 1977 and 1980) and singles titles in 1976 (Phil Mohtadi) and 1989 (Scott Dulmage). Team members have earned All-American honors and have been named to numerous All-Tournament teams. It is recognized that membership in this association has profoundly influenced the quality and vitality of the UWO squash program. Fairs’ honors and awards document his commitment to excellence in coaching and in promoting the game of squash. Among them are the 1979 Distinguished Service Award of the Canadian Squash Racquets Association, the 1984 Special Achievement Award of Squash Ontario, the 1986 Distinguished Service Award of Squash Canada for outstanding contributions to the Promotion and Development of Squash in Canada as a Coach, the 1991 Sportsman of the Year Award for the City of London, the 1993 Special Citation of Squash Canada for contributions to the hardball game. Canada officially designated 1989-90 as the Year of the Coach.
In recognition of his work, Fairs received various awards including the Dedicated Coaching Service Award of Squash Canada, the 3M Coaching Canada Award and the Canadian Football League (CFL) medallion and Coaching Achievement Certificate. In 1997 NISRA established Lifetime Achievement Award. Jack Fairs was the first recipient. Jack’s multi-sport career has already conferred him Hall of Fame recognition. Inductions include W Club Hall of Fame (1991), London Sports Hall of Fame (2002) and Chatham Sports Hall of Fame (2003). On receiving word of this award, Fairs said, “I have always cherished my association and friendship with CSA and its coaches. The organization has enhanced the development of intercollegiate squash and provided opportunities for its student/athletes to be involved in a lifetime sport. To be recognized by this fine organization for my years as a coach at The University of Western Ontario is indeed very special. I am very appreciative of this award and honoured to be added to such a distinguished list of past recipients.”
As a teacher and coach, Jack Fairs, has few equals. His work has enriched the lives of countless student/athletes. Plato said those having torches will pass them onto others and Jack has done that with enthusiasm and dedication. He has been a role model, par excellence, for aspiring teachers and coaches and continues his commitment to advancing the game of squash.