Plenty of youth coaches deserve shout-outs. They work tirelessly on behalf of their sport. They pass on their knowledge and passion to young athletes.
Many times those youngsters include their own children. When their kids grow up — or stop playing — the coaches move on.
Jeb Backus was coaching long before his own children, Tripp and Jillian, played. He’ll coach long after too.
Jeb is a head coach for Westport travel baseball and softball. He’s also the head junior varsity softball coach at Staples High School, and serves Westport Little League as director of field operations.
He was a longtime player too. And a very good one.
Now Jeb is getting some long-overdue recognition. He’s been named to the Connecticut ASA Softball Hall of Fame.
Jeb started playing softball for the legendary Sonny’s team at 16. He was already a star baseball and football player at Staples High School. He continued with Sonny’s while at Flagler College, on a baseball scholarship. In 1987, he earned college All-America honors. In 2004, Jeb was named to Flager’s new Athletic Hall of Fame.
Jeb helped Sonny’s win 5 state championships. He pitched in 4 title games, and went 13-for-14 while driving in 17 runs.
Jeb then starred for other teams, at the national level. He added 5 more state championships at the Over-35 level.
Jeb finished his 25-year softball career with a .625-plus batting average, and over 900 pitching wins. His teams earned more than 40 local crowns, and qualified for 19 national tournaments.
As a coach, his work with young players is legendary. Many former players, parents and friends look forward to honoring Jeb at the dinner (Sunday, October 13, Costa Azzurra restaurant, Milford, 4 p.m.). For ticket information, call 203-876-0078 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email email@example.com)