Unsung Hero #114

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 Backus

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 Backus in action.

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 lisa.dilullo@aol.com.

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

20 responses to “Unsung Hero #114

  1. Hey Jeb! Winfield loves you! Congrats for the awards and shout out! Thank you for being so helpful setting us up on the concession on Saturdays.

    The Winfield Team 🙂

  2. Jeb is a Westport treasure.

  3. I know jeb for 25 years. He has tremendous enthusiasm for sports and helping others. Thanks Jeb for all your efforts.

  4. Awesome!! We love you Coach. Congratulations, from the entire Dylan Curran Family

  5. Congratulations Jeb! Well deserved!

  6. Well-deserved. Quite a career there Jeb. Staples supplied Sonny’s with some great players. Joey Bottone, the Calise bros., Al Tenn, Skip Lane among them. You’re lucky to get Jeb as a coach!

  7. Michael Calise

    A Hearty and well deserved Congratulations Jeb!

  8. Kelly Marr Asbury

    Way to go Jeb! Well earned and deserved! Congratulations!

  9. Jeb Backus is absolutely an essential part of Westport Baseball & Softball!
    Well deserved!!!

  10. Those who grew up with Jeb always knew he was a great ballplayer, but he has become a highly regarded coach as well. Atta boy Jebber, and congrats; well-deserved.

  11. Jennifer Rankine

    Such well-deserved accolades for great achievements couldn’t be awarded to a nicer guy. Congratulations Jeb!

  12. Congrats to Jeb. Well deserved!!

  13. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jeb in Westport Baseball & Softball for many years. A fine coach and even better man. Congrats my friend!

  14. Mary Ann Lindwall

    Couldn’t ask for a nicer guy and a bigger fan of Westport, youth sport and pizza! Great Job Coach! Thanks from the entire Lindwall family.

  15. David Goldstein

    I coached with Jeb when Tripp and my son were in their last year in WPLL. That spring I learned what a real coach is. Jeb and my son still talk to each other regularly through Facebook. My entire family loves Jeb. I am proud to call him my friend and will be there cheering him on during this special and well earned celebration. Congrats buddy!

  16. Sandra Calise Cenatiempo

    Congratulations Jeb!! You are an outstanding Father, Coach, Teammate….just an all over GREAT guy! Westport is lucky to have you!!!

  17. Karen Champagne Dumez

    Wow Jeb, some pretty impressive accolades. Well Done. Congrats! Your passion for coaching and the sport shines through you accomplishments!!

  18. Jeb and I worked together many years ago at the Wilton Y and he was then and is now a fine Dad, Coach and all around dedicated person. Congrats on your latest recognition; Jebster

  19. Jeb is also an MVP at our YMCA. You’ll find him in the fitness center at the crack of dawn helping our members. He also lives the Y’s mantra of Caring, Respect, Responsibility and Honesty — he’s the kind of person that still addresses our members with “Sir” or “Ma’am”.

    Congratulations to my fellow classmate and fellow employee!

  20. Karen A Schomp

    This is a long overdue honor! He truly is a Westport treasure!