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Alumni Hall of Fame
Service to St. Marys City Schools (2010)

Mr. Jack A. Lawler

Mr. Jack A. Lawler, a native of St. Marys, is a member of the Memorial High School Class of 1951. Mr. Lawler has served the St. Marys City Schools for nearly thirty-five years as a volunteer who has passionately championed St. Marys Roughrider Athletics. This example of the spirit of volunteerism was steadfastly maintained over the course of raising four children with his wife, Verlene, and giving thirty-eight years of service to Crown Equipment Corp.

In 1972, Jack, along with his late friend, Mr. Dussel Muter, formed the athletic booster club known as Rider Rooters. As Jack, Dussel, Jim Widner and Don Wright got the Rider Rooters off the ground, Mr. Lawler was elected as the Rider Rooters' first President.

In 1973, the first major project of the Rider Rooters began, Project 60. This 60-month effort was geared to updating the football facility, then called Memorial Stadium. Today this facility is known as Skip Baughman Stadium, named for our late legendary Hall of Fame Head Football Coach Eugene L. "Skip" Baughman. By raising $150,000.00, Rider Rooters was able to erect the home side reserved seats and press box and move the football field ten yards south.

In 1973, Jack and Dussel teamed up again to be instrumental in establishing one of the Rider Rooters' primary annual fundraisers, the Fall Sports Kickoff. Today it is known as the Chicken Bowl. Currently, the Chicken Bowl is the last football scrimmage of pre-season preparation: St. Marys annually scrimmages the Urbana High School Hillclimbers at Skip Baughman Stadium. The community has the opportunity to take in the scrimmage while enjoying chicken dinners purchased from the Rider Rooters.

In 1978, Mr. Lawler and Mr. Don Johnson started the home game football program. This two page leaflet, which made a particular student club or organization $250.00 a year, was taken over by Rider Rooters for a small fee. The St. Marys Roughrider Football Program started out as a thirty - two page black and white program sold for fifty cents each. The first year cover celebrated "Twenty years with Skip." With the assistance of volunteers like Dave Stilwell, this football-only program has developed into a seventy - five page color covered program sold for two dollars each. It garners more than $6,000.00 annually for Rider Rooters and is the finest football program in the Western Buckeye League. The program traditionally features pictures of the varsity football team and coaching staff, profiles of senior football players and pictures of underclassmen players, pictures of the freshman and eighth grade football teams and coaching staff, an archive of Roughrider football records, a weekly update of the Western Buckeye League, a weekly feature on other Memorial High School Athletic teams, Homecoming, the Alumni Foundation or a look back on Roughrider Football and advertisements from local individuals, businesses and organizations supporting St. Marys Athletics. As Jack says, this program is driven by advertisements, and the way to sell advertisements is to get the program in peoples' hands; this is why the Roughrider program has traditionally been sold for a lower price compared to its counterparts in the area.

Under the leadership of individuals like Jack Lawler, Rider Rooters has contributed a large amount of funding to enhance the facilities at Skip Baughman Stadium, McBroom Gymnasium and the West School Track and Soccer facilities. Rider Rooters has contributed thousands of dollars more in supplying the uniforms and equipment necessary for each and every athletic team at Memorial High School. Financial support is not the only trademark of the Rider Rooters. Jack, Paul Axe, Andy Makley and fellow Rider Rooters members have provided manpower to complete the major projects over the years, as well as the weekly task of striping the gridiron at Skip Baughman Stadium, soccer fields and other practice fields used by St. Marys Roughrider athletic teams. Jack also recalls the time Rider Rooters stepped out of their typical role and held a benefit basketball game for a local child dealing with serious health concerns, and, with the efforts of Bill Simons, the appearance of one Wayne Woodrow "Woody" Hayes was arranged, guaranteeing the success of the benefit.

As St. Marys Roughrider Athletic program faces a new period of transition, it is likely that the consistent voice and working hands of Jack Lawler -- that have been involved for so many years -- will be involved once again, to assure that the student athletes of Memorial High School have the best facilities, equipment and support, to maintain the excellence of Roughrider Athletics.

It is for his distinguished and superior service to the St. Marys City Schools and passionate spirit of volunteerism while championing Roughrider Athletics, that Mr. Jack A. Lawler is inducted into the St. Marys Memorial High School Alumni Foundation Hall of Fame.

The above text, in its entirety, is embossed on a St. Marys Memorial High School Alumni Hall of Fame plaque permanently on display in Memorial High School.

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