The area lost it's winningest football in history this week, as Jack Pratt passed away at the age of 84.

Pratt's contributions to Flint area sports were far more encompassing than his success on the field. He coached for nearly 5 decades for St. Matthews, Kearsley, Grand Blanc and Flint Powers. He was inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 1987, but he didn't retire until 2006 after taking Powers to a state championship at Ford Field. His final record on the gridiron was 304-129-7.

If you look at his success as a football and basketball coach, it was more than just numbers in the box score. What Jack Pratt instilled in his players was a sense of pride and respect, the ability to work as a team to be successful. He was honored at The Whiting in 2007...something I'm sure made a him little uncomfortable. I had the chance to interview Jack on many occasions, and he always had a knack for deflecting all the attention to the people around him. He was the kind of coach that never had to raise his voice...when he spoke, you listened. He always gave credit to sons, who were his assistant coaches at Powers, or to his players.

And he could coach football, especially defense. His Powers championship team didn't have any players much over 200 pounds, but his team stopped some high-powered offenses. "When get your players to understand your system and play as a team, you'll have nothing but success."

When the Chargers take the field this Friday, none of the players will have ever played for Jack Pratt. But his spirit will be felt at Holy Redeemer, and his pride and his love for his players past and present will live on.

"To be able to deal with the best product in the world, young people, is definitely a humbling experience."


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