April 2, 2010
Filed under Archives
This week, Guilford College mourned the death of a Guilford legend. Jack Jensen died on March 28 of a heart attack, leaving behind his wife Marsha, his children Laura and Dennis, grandson Jack, the Guilford golf team, the Guilford College family, and his legacy.
Jensen’s career at Guilford began in 1965 when he became the assistant coach for the men’s basketball team and the head coach for the track and field team. In the 45 years that followed, Jensen was a mentor and friend to many in the Guilford community through his involvement in both Guilford athletics and academics.
After five years as men’s basketball assistant coach, Jensen became head coach in 1970, and after just three years led his team to an NAIA title. In the 1973 championship season, Jensen coached Guilford greats and future NBA players such as M.L. Carr ’73, Greg Jackson ’74 and World B. Free ’76. Jensen would coach basketball until 1999, when it seemed as if everything he touched turned to gold.
After Jensen became the golf coach in 1976, the golf team brought home an NAIA title trophy in 1989, NCAA title trophies in 2002 and 2005, and his teams placed in the NCAA tournament 26 times.
Jensen’s commitment to Guilford athletics and passion for sports, specifically golf, would follow him to the end. This spring, Jensen was in his 33rd season of coaching another driven, championship-bound golf team that was recently ranked fourth in the Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches’ Poll.
In addition, Jensen was in the middle of another semester of teaching tennis and softball at Guilford.
Through his success as a coach, Jensen put Guilford athletics on the map. In addition to his team’s successes, Jensen earned a spot in six halls of fame, including the NAIA, North Carolina, Wake Forest University Sports, Guilford County, Guilford College and the Golf Coaches Association of America.
In 2009, on Legacy weekend, Guilford College celebrated Jensen and the players that he coached on the 1973 Dream Team. Guilford honored Carr and Free by retiring their numbers, and honored Jensen by naming the basketball court in Ragan-Brown Field House after him, ensuring that his impact on that sacred space will never be forgotten.
There will never be another coach at Guilford like Jensen. His character, competitiveness, loyalty and respect for others will be missed, but his legacy will never be forgotten.