Jack Blair was born in Chicago but grew up in Spokane and Chewelah. He graduated from Chewelah High in 1960. He attended Stanford University, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree.
After Stanford, Jack worked for a time as a stockbroker before beginning his career in education in 1972. He taught at a number of schools in California before returning to Washington in 1977. He took a position at Central Valley and became coach of the girls’ basketball team in 1979.
Jack’s teams were winners from the start, and in his second year were district champions. Jack met and became friends with Ron Adams and shared his coaching duties with Ron in his final two years at CV. Their 1984-85 team, led by Lynda Clegg, Tina Morrison and Michelle Rodgers, won the Greater Spokane League. The Bears were also District champions as well as the first CV team to make the state tournament. The team made news in its first game by defeating Interlake, the No. 1-ranked team in the state. The Bears narrowly lost to Auburn in the semifinals and finished third that year. Both Blair and Adams were selected as GSL coaches of the year. Blair’s overall record at CV was 101-36.
Jack then took an administrative position as Athletic Coordinator at Lewis and Clark. He held that title until his untimely death in 1994 at the age of 52.
Blair and Adams co-founded the Spokane Stars AAU team in 1982. They coached the Stars together for the next seven years.
After Jack’s death, Ron organized the Jack Blair Memorial Classic, which has been played every year since 1994, featuring some of the top young women athletes from the area. Some who have participated through the years are Alli Nieman, Regan Freuen, Stacey Clinesmith, Emily Westerberg, Aubrey Johnson, Jami and Angie Bjorklund, Katelan Redmon, Heather Bowman, Briann January, Shaniqua Nilles, Shelby Cheslek,Tia Presley and Lindsay and Laura Stockton as well as hundreds of others.
Jack’s legacy continues on as the 23rd Annual contest featuring the stars of today from the GSL and surrounding region competed against each other at University High on June 1.