Editor’s note: This is the fourth of a six-part series of stories about the 2015 Crawford County Sports Hall of Fame inductees.
The past is a lot clearer for Jack Hewitt.
The soon-to-be inductee of the 2015 Crawford County Sports Hall of Fame said his perception has changed as he “starts to think about things” from his athletic career and life. For one thing he appreciates his opponents more than he did when he played against them.
And the recognition for his achievements means a lot.
“It’s a great honor for me,” he said.
Hewitt was a four-sport athlete at Bucyrus High School playing basketball, baseball, football and track. He won the Michael Award in basketball as the team’s MVP as a senior in 1957. Hewitt led the Redmen in scoring that year with 278 points. Though six feet tall, rebounding was among his specialties. He also played center on the football team.
Hewitt was considered a legend in North Central Ohio softball circles. He was a dominant pitcher, playing in fast-pitch industrial and church leagues at Aumiller Park. He also played in area towns including Upper Sandusky, Marion and Galion. Hewitt sometimes played as many as six or seven times a week and competed four times against the late Eddie Feigner, who toured the country as The King and His Court. Feigner had just a catcher and two fielders. In 1962, Jack was named the MVP of the Sixth Army softball tournament and considers this to be the high point of his playing days.
In 1990, Hewitt was hired as the Bucyrus High School softball coach. Hewitt had been helping the previous coach, Lana Craig, with pitchers for six or seven years. He was working the day shift as a counselor at the prison, but got the time off on game days. He gave up vacation and personal time so that he could find the time to coach.
His only season as the head coach brought Bucyrus its only state championship in softball. The softball team went 27-2 and won the state behind the pitching arm of Patty Surina, who went on to have a stellar career at the University of Akron.
Hewitt said the seniors on the team graduated the next day with some earning their diplomas on the field.
“That was probably the highlight,” he said.
Hewitt retired from the Ohio Correctional System after 33 years as a substance abuse counselor. After coaching one season, he stayed behind the scene helping pitchers in the area improve their throwing abilities – he never charged for his services.
Hewitt has been married to his wife Kay for 56 years and they have a son, Mitchell.
The Crawford County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Induction Banquet will take place at the Trillium Event Center, 1630 E. Southern Ave., in Bucyrus 5 p.m. March 19. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for 12 and under. The tickets can be purchased at the Crestline Advocate, the six high school athletic department offices or by calling 419-571-6284.
The other inductees are Bill Durtschi of Galion, Jack Hewitt of Bucyrus, Chuck Huggins of Colonel Crawford, Natalie Winkelfoos of Bucyrus and the 1985 Buckeye Central girls basketball state championship team.
Information submitted by Carolyn Helbert.
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.