Jack L. Wilson

Inducted 1994

Few coaches have ever enjoyed the success that Jack Wilson had as head boys basketball coach at Clearwater High School.

Wilson led the Tornadoes to an incredible 508-99 record –an .837 winning percentage – and on state championship over a 17-year period. During that same period, Clearwater recorded 20 or more victories a season for all but one of those years.

After a 27-year career in which he coached 764 high school games, Wilson announced his retirement in April 1985. He died on June 6, 1986 at the age of 49. He is survived by his wife, Pat, and son, Tim.

Born on August 27, 1936 in Omar, W. Va., a tiny coal-company town in the Appalachians, Wilson was cut from his eight-grade basketball team and initially refused to try out in the ninth grade. However, his older brother convinced Wilson to give it another shot. He did and ended his high school career as an all-state center. He then attended Anderson College in Indiana where he rewrote the school’s scoring records three straight years. It was during his college days when Wilson decided to make his career in basketball.

He took his first head coaching job at then-rural Zephyrhills High School in 1958. In four years, he took his team from games played on an outdoor court to the 1962 state championship using the 2-2-1 press, which be brought to Florida. In the fall of 1962, Wilson accepted a position at Madison Heights High School in Anderson, Indiana. He remained there through the 1965-66 season and then returned to Florida with a job at Titusville High School. Two years later, he accepted the position at Clearwater.

Wilson’s career record was 585-179. It included two state championships, one state runner-up finish, six regional championships, 13 district titles and 17 conference championships.

Although he is no longer with us, Wilson’s legacy lives on at Clearwater High School in “The House that Jack Built”.