Jack Willie Gym


Lately, the Jack Willie Gym has been being mistreated.

“There were balls hitting the scoreboards, and light bulbs breaking, just a little extra exuberance during lunch time,” said Glenn Hard.

If students only knew the history of this gym, and what a wonderful man Jack was, maybe they wouldn’t leave it this way.

Before the Jack Willie Gym was dedicated last year, it was just the “Old Gym,” an empty part of Manitou High School without a name or purpose.

Mrs. Penman was the driving force in the dedication. “I wanted it to be dedicated because it didn’t have a name,” said Janice Penman. “Now I can retire in peace.”

Photo by Sam White

The gym had an illustrious past.

When Jack was the boys basketball coach, he led the team to a 2A state win in 1973. Also in 1973, Coach Willie was named Coach of the Year.

Eleven years later he was in the Colorado High School Hall of Fame.

All the way up to the day Jack retired, and up to the day he died in 2001, he was loved by everyone in Manitou, regardless of whether or not they were members of his winning basketball team.

In addition to his coaching position, he was a teacher, and the town Santa Clause. (and everyone loves Santa!).

It took eleven years from the death of Mr. Jack Willie for the gym to finally be dedicated, and now that it has been, it gives a certain amount of character to our Sadly, not everyone knows about all of these wonderful achievements by our beloved Mr. Willie.

“I never knew it was dedicated, I just always knew of it as the Jack Willie Gym.” Said Naomi Bauer, a sophomore.

The love this man felt for this space, and his athletes was incredible. It is a real honor to have a gym named after the wonderful Jack Willie.

To treat it with anything but the respect he had for it, is the least MSHS students can do.

By Sam White