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The Late, Great ‘Dr. Jack’ Ramsay Honored At St. Joe’s

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Campbell_Bill-FEATURE-img Bill Campbell
Bill Campbell, known to all Philadelphia sports fans as “The Dean,”...
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By Bill Campbell

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — We should entitle this particular day “Bad News Day”. Just about everything I’ve seen on the wire this morning falls under the heading of bad news. First of all, Jeremy Maclin’s hamstring is hurting before the Eagles even play a regular season game. Cole Hamels is talking about pitching somewhere else in the future. A.J. Burnett imploded in the sixth inning out in Los Angeles last night and the Phillies lost another one, 4-3. Tiger Woods’ back is so painful, he’s pulled himself out of consideration for a slot on the Davis Cup team. It goes on and on.

However, the biggest reason for my christening this a day for bad news is that I was forced to recall all over again that Jack Ramsay had died. He left us back in April but his passing came to mind again this morning as I read the way that St. Joseph’s University stopped to honor him last night. They did it with the same class in which they do everything out on City Line Avenue. The school hosted more than 600 people at a memorial Mass right on the court at Hagan Arena. Guys who coached with him and against him were there, along with many of his past St. Joe’s players, alumni, media, friends and family. I recall that Jack and his family always gathered at his vacation home in Ocean City in August. I often saw him there myself in our younger days. It was fitting that his clan came east to Hawk Hill as summer begins to wane to celebrate his life. It isn’t surprising that so many people came to join them.

Jack Ramsay taught me more about basketball, particularly the defensive side of the game, than anyone I’ve ever known. He was a friend, a guest at my home for dinner, conversation and laughter on many occasions. I was lucky to have known him and called him my friend. I shall be eternally grateful to him. Last night, the Hawks brought everyone home to bid him farewell.  Another friend, St. Joe’s Athletics Director Don Di Julia, was quoted as saying that Dr. Jack was “the essence” of what college sports is supposed to be: “developing young people to learn and grow through sports.”  That’s what Jack Ramsay lived for and the mark he made on so many is indelible. We should all leave behind a legacy like that of “Dr. Jack”. Rest in peace, my friend.

 

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