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South grad Jack Greathouse recognized by Lancaster HS (Ohio) | News, Sports, Jobs


Jack Greathouse, a 1975 graduate of Parkersburg South High School, was recently inducted into Lancaster High School, Ohio’s Gary Mauller Wall of Fame. The school also named its playing field after Greathouse, who won 224 games as head coach of the Golden Gales boys’ basketball team from 1988 to 2003. Greathouse began his high school coaching career at Spencer High School in Roane County and also spent a season at Marietta High School.

PARKERSBURG — Jack Greathouse has literally been inducted into a handful of Halls of Famers.

That “One for the Thumb” as his grandson Mason so aptly said at the time, came with a bonus when Lancaster High School (Ohio) dedicated the gymnasium as Jack Greathouse Court, the same night he joined a group of seven inductees into the LHS Gary Mauller Wall of Honor connected.

“The court’s dedication really came as a huge shock – they did a great job of hiding that from me.” said Greathouse, who coached Lancaster HS Boys basketball from 1988 to 2003.

During his tenure, the Golden Gales won 224 games – the most by any coach at LHS. In 1991, Lancaster reached the Division I Final Four.

“Someone pointed out that facilities are not often named after people.” Greathouse continued. “To be honest, I was not only honored but also very humbled.

“Once the shock wore off I told the sporting director (in Lancaster) there was a problem. I don’t think the Court will fit in the trunk of my car.”

Greathouse played three seasons of college basketball for the South Patriots. The 66-year-old admits he wasn’t shy about taking a shot.

“I’ve had a couple of opportunities to go back south and speak at the basketball banquet,” said Bighouse. “Joe Crislip was the athletic director at the time. He hands me a ball and says throw it back to him. He tells everyone that this is the first pass I’ve ever made.”

After serving as a student manager while attending Marshall University and then as an assistant coach for the Thundering Herd in the 1979-80 season, Greathouse’s head coaching career began when Jim Hamric offered him the basketball position of Spencer High School boy boy. Greathouse was 22 at the time.

At Spencer, he won three section titles, two conference championships, and earned three region promotions.

Greathouse then made his way to Marietta High School for the 1987–88 season. After a 5-0 start, the Tigers won 13 of their next 18 games en route to a section title and a trip to the District Finals.

“When Marietta called, I was lucky. I met the right kids and the right community.”

Between school funding and tax problems at Marietta, Greathouse applied for the Lancaster position. Almost 30 years later, he remained a Golden Gale.

“I thought about coaching college basketball and had a lot of options, but I found a community in Lancaster that was hungry for a winner and hungry for a basketball program — and we did.” said Bighouse. “We worked really hard on our branding – ‘The Gale Force’. Someone on the radio asked me to describe what it was like to come to our gym. It was like playing three AC/DC songs – Thunderstruck, You Shook Me All Night Long and Hells Bells.

“Our kids played the game right. We had some teams that played hard, that weren’t as talented compared to others, but they were competitive.”

An estimated 250 to 300 people attended the induction reception in Lancaster. Former players reunited with their coach, some only made the long trek for one night and had to return home the next day.

His former players recalled what Greathouse preached when reporters asked the coach about the prospects for the upcoming season. Greathouse always replied, “Check back in 20 years when these kids are good husbands, involved in their community, and making a difference.”

“I had tears in my eyes at this reception” said Bighouse. “Hearing the stories of my former players melted my heart. I told all the players there that the pitch bears my name but it represents us and everyone who went to Lancaster.

Greathouse, who retired as an administrator at Lancaster in 2017, currently resides in South Carolina with his wife Sandy. Their son, Kyle, and daughter, Jodi, and three grandchildren (Piper, Mason, and Dallas) also live in the area.

“Sandy is also a graduate of Parkersburg South (1974) — she’s always been a supporter of me and has had a great teaching career herself.” said Bighouse. “Whenever I go to Parkersburg, I go to the courts at Southwood Park. That’s where I got to know life. That kid from south Parkersburg learned a hell of a lot.”

Greathouse’s program was highly regarded across the state. He has been named Ohio Central District Division I Coach of the Year five times. In 2010 he was inducted into the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

His legacy stays with the school. Prior to its launch in Lancaster, summer camps would only bring in 20 to 25 campers. Today that number is between 200 and 250.

“We built a program from scratch,” said Bighouse. “Our children, our community have made the program a powerhouse. It wasn’t always the prettiest kind of basketball, but our boys wanted to defend.

“Our kids worked hard to make it difficult for our opponents.”

In addition to the Lancaster Wall of Fame and the Ohio HS Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, Greathouse is a member of the District 11 HOF (2009), the Mid-Ohio Valley Athletic HOF (2018), and the Ohio Capital Conference HOF (2017).

Between all his coaching positions, he finished his career with 333 wins.

“My son was Ohio Division I Player of the Year and signed up for Western Carolina – I had four Division I players that got into my program but I got out,” said Bighouse. “The decision was difficult and one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make.

“I’ve helped run camps in North Carolina with Coach Dean Smith. I spent two to three weeks every summer with these trainers, rubbing shoulders and asking questions. I’ve been really fortunate to meet a lot of people in the industry, but I decided I didn’t want to. I wanted to be with my family. For example, I want to be there when my grandchildren graduate from kindergarten.”




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