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Jack McCann, HB-8 is now a member of the ECU Athletics Hall of Fame
McCann, HB-8, inducted into East Carolina University Athletic Hall of Fame
Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 11:45 pm J.J. SMITH
GREENVILLE — Jack McCann can now add another item to his impressive list of accomplishments. The longtime Morehead City resident was recently inducted into the East Carolina University Athletic Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony took place Sept. 25 inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum, and McCann and the rest of the class were introduced the following day at halftime of the football game versus Virginia Tech.
Since it was established in 1974, 153 former student-athletes, coaches and administrators have been elected to the ECU Athletic Hall of Fame.
McCann was a six-time All-American and is the fifth member of the Pirates’ 1959 NAIA National Championship swimming and diving team elected to the ECU Athletic Hall of Fame, joining Thomas Carroll, Glen Dyer, Ted Gartman and Robert Sawyer along with coach Ray Martinez.
“I was very honored that all the members of the 1959 team were there, plus the 1957 and 1960 team members, including my coach,” McCann said. The event brought all the members of the team together for the first time since 1960.
McCann collected individual All-American accolades three times, earning the recognition in the 200-yard breaststroke in 1959 and 1960. He also achieved All-American status in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1960. In addition, he was a part of three All-American relay teams, set numerous pool and meet records and was lauded a a key team leader.
He is recognized for his long lasting contribution to the sport by creating and perfecting the “whip kick,” which is still copied today by the world’s best Olympic breaststroke swimmers. “I’m proud of that contribution,” McCann said.
He forever changed breaststroke mechanics when he developed the “whip kick,” which was proven scientifically by hydro-mechanical dynamics studies to reduce drag points.
McCann served his country in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War before entering East Carolina in the fall of 1957. He then joined a group of young men and achieved what seemed impossible, earning the first national championship for their school, and a mere two years later, accomplishing the feat again.
East Carolina swimmers and divers won the NAIA Championship in Carbondale, Ill., and then in Muncie, Ind., to reach levels never before or since accomplished at the school. No team at ECU has yet to earn two national championships.
McCann was an above-average student and active in campus activities, serving as president of the Aquatics Club and a charter member and officer of the Sigma Nu fraternity. A proud East Carolina alum, he was instrumental in recently honoring his fellow Sigma Nu All-American swimmers and divers by contributing to a scholarship in their names. McCann and his wife, Jolene, are developing an endowment scholarship for future ECU students in cooperation with ECU Sigma Nu alumni and the Sigma Nu national fraternity.
He received his bachelor’s degree in social studies and science in 1961 and then embarked on a successful teaching and coaching career at Myers Park High School in Charlotte where he led the team to three state championships (1961-1963). In 1963, he also led the squad to the Southeastern Invitational Championships at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., an accomplishment never before reached by the program.
In the summers, he coached AAU programs and led the Charlotte Country Club Swim Team to its first league championship. McCann then turned his attention to the world of tennis. He was an outstanding player, earning membership in the prestigious International Lawn Tennis Club of the USA. As a member of the club, he played in Scotland, Mexico and Australia and was a participant in the Osuna Cup Mexican-American Friendship Doubles.
He brought national attention to Eastern North Carolina by establishing the Calico Jack’s Invitational Tennis Tournament, which attracted players such as Wimbledon quarterfinalist Allen Morris and ECU Hall of Fame member Maurice Everett. He also made contributions to the tennis world as a key patent holder and consultant.
McCann built the Spooner’s Creek Racquet Club in Morehead City and changed the technology for building clay tennis courts forever when he wrote the specifications for subsurface-irrigated clay courts. He founded the tennis court construction company Calico Racquet Courts Inc. in 1970, and his patented application, “Cal-Cap,” advanced clay court technology in a manner never before experienced. He built tennis courts across the country, including sites at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and Carmel Country Club in California. He volunteered as a technical expert at many professional tennis sites, including the U.S. Tennis Center at famed Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
McCann also showed a variety of interests and quite a business acumen over the years. He founded Calico Jack’s Inn and Marina on Harkers Island and successfully petitioned approval for a passenger ferry from the island to Cape Lookout National Seashore. He built a runway on the island for private planes to fly in players, spectators, and sport-fishing and hunting enthusiasts.
McCann earned both a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license and a pilot's license.
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