This week the Athletics Department honored longtime squash coach Mike Jefferys who is retiring after leading the squash program at SCH for two decades. Players—past and present— joined families at the McCausland Courts to acknowledge Jefferys’ commitment to building a program that was much much more than nationally ranked teams and top-notch players (many of whom went on to excel at the collegiate level).
SCH Athletic Director Dave Wilson kicked off the remarks saying, “It’s a day to thank you, Mike. Not only are you a respected leader with your peers in the Philadelphia squash world and the Inter-Ac but you have led our program with integrity and class. Your athletes compete with fierce determination and persistence but, more importantly, they play with sportsmanship. The Blue Devils win with humility and lose with dignity because of your influence and leadership.”
Many remembrances were shared throughout the event and each coach or player who spoke (or wrote in) honored Jefferys’ impact on his players, helping them become, not just better squash players, but better people. One of the highlights of the afternoon included remarks from the University of Pennsylvania men’s squash team head coach, Gilly Lane CHA ‘03, who led Penn’s team to a pristine 16-0 regular season and the first outright Ivy League title since 1969. Lane was also unanimously selected as the “Ivy League Squash Coach of the Year.”
Gilly was a 16-year-old aspiring player when he first met Mike in 2002 and has, arguably, “known him the longest of anyone in the room.” He shared, “One of the things that I learned the most from Mike was just how to be a great person… a good coach… a great leader by the values that he instilled on a daily basis. And when I think about Mike, the term ‘selfless’ comes to mind instantly. Not once in 20 years did he do it for the money. Did he do it for fame? Did he do it to impress anyone else? He just did it to make people better. He did it because his values are the highest. He taught me how to be tough. He taught me how to fight for what you want. And he taught me how to do things the right way.”
We say thank you to Mike for helping to shape two decades of players and one of the most highly regarded high school squash programs in the country.