PARKERSBURG — Jack Greathouse has literally made it to a handful of Hall of Fame inductees.
of “thumb” As his grandson Mason aptly put it at the time, when Lancaster High School (Ohio) dedicated its gym floor as Jack Greathouse Court, he added seven inductees to the LHS Gary Maurer Wall of Honor. I received the bonus the same night I joined the group.
“The court’s dedication was a real shock. They hid it from me.” Greathouse, Lancaster HS men’s basketball coach from 1988 to 2003 said:
During his tenure, the Golden Gales won 224 games. That’s more than any LHS coach. In 1991 Lancaster reached the Final Four of Division I.
“Someone pointed out that institutions are rarely named after people.” Greathouse continued. “Honestly, I was not only honored, but very humbled.
“After the shock subsided, I told the[Lancaster]athletic director that I had one problem. I don’t think the coat would fit in the back seat of the car.”
Greathouse played varsity basketball for the South Patriots for three seasons. The 66-year-old admits he never hesitated to take a shot.
“I’ve had several opportunities to speak at basketball banquets back in the South.” Greathouse said. “At the time, Joe Crislip was the athletic director. He gave me the ball and said I would throw it back at him. I am saying.”
After spending time as a student manager while at Marshall University, and later as assistant coach for Sunderling Hard in the 1979-80 season, Greathouse’s head coaching career began when Jim Hamrick offered him the head position in Spencer High School’s men’s basketball. It started when I served. Greathouse was 22 at the time.
With Spencer, he has won three section titles, two conference championships and three regional titles.
Greathouse then entered Marietta High School for the 1987-88 season. After an 0-5 start, the Tigers won 13 of his next 18 games to advance to the district title and the district finals.
“I was lucky when Marietta answered the phone. I attacked the right kids and the right community.”
Between school funding and collection problems at Marietta, Greathouse applied for a position at Lancaster. Nearly 30 years after him, he remained his Golden Gale.
“I was thinking about coaching college basketball and there were a lot of opportunities, but I learned that the Lancaster community was hungry for winners and a basketball program, and that’s what we did.” Greathouse said.
“We really put a lot of effort into branding ‘The Gale Force.’ Someone asked me on the radio to describe what it was like to come to our gym. Thunderstruck, You Shook It was like playing three AC/DC songs: Me All Night Long, Hell’s Bells.” he added.
“Our kids played the game the right way. Some teams played hard, they weren’t as talented as others, but they were competitive.”
An estimated 250 to 300 people attended the induction reception in Lancaster. Former players were reunited with their coaches, and some had to travel long distances for just one night before returning home the next day.
His former players remembered Greathouse preaching when the coach was asked by reporters about his prospects for next season. “Call me back in 20 years when these kids are good husbands, active in their communities, and making a difference.”
“That reception brought tears to my eyes.” Greathouse said. “My heart melted when I heard the stories of the former players. It represents everyone who has been there.
Greathouse, who retired as administrator at Lancaster University in 2017, now lives in South Carolina with his wife, Sandy. His son Kyle and daughter Jody, and his three grandchildren (Piper, Mason and Dallas) also live in the area.
“Sandy is also a Parkersburg Southern graduate (1974). She has had a wonderful teaching career, always supportive.” Greathouse said. “Whenever I drive to Parkersburg, I go to the courts in Southwood Park.
The Great House program was highly praised statewide. He was named the Ohio Central District Division I Coach of the Year on his fifth time. In 2010, he was inducted into the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.
His legacy remains in the school. Before he started at Lancaster, only 20 to 25 campers attended his summer camp. Currently, that number ranges from 200 to 250.
“I created a program from scratch” Greathouse said. “Our children, our community, have made this program a powerful force. It hasn’t always been the prettiest type of basketball, but our players were trying to defend.
“Our kids worked hard to be tough on their opponents.”
In addition to being inducted into the Lancaster Wall of Fame and the Ohio HS Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, Greathouse is a member of the District 11 HOF (2009), Mid-Ohio Valley Athletic HOF (2018) and Ohio Capital Conference HOF (2017).
Between all coaching stops, he finished his career with 333 wins.
“My son won Ohio’s Division I Player of the Year and signed a contract to play for Western Carolina. There were four Division I players in my program and I dropped out. .” Greathouse said. “This decision is a difficult one and he is one of the hardest ever.
“I helped run a camp in North Carolina with coach Dean Smith. I was really lucky to get to know people, but I decided I didn’t want that.I wanted to be with my family.
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