VIDEO: Jack Kenworthy, Career Educator, Sports Pioneer
By SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME // July 11, 2014
space coast sports hall of fame
ABOVE VIDEO: As BCC baseball coach, Jack Kenworthy helped shape two state championship teams, and his young school snagged the state championship in 1975. Among his BCC players was Bruce Bochy, manager of the San Francisco Giants.
JACK KENWORTHY – 2014 INDUCTEE
• Two State Baseball Championships
• Space Coast Marathon Director
• Prep And College Sports Official
PIONEER AT BCC
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – In 1966, Eastern Florida State College – then known as Brevard Community College – was in its infancy, created through demands for educational facilities for families drawn to a county rich in space and technology.
Helping the fledgling school test its sports wings was Jack Kenworthy, who initially began his 30-year career with the educational institution as a physical education and health instructor.
While teaching, Kenworthy added to his duties, assuming the role of assistant baseball coach for two years and head baseball coach for a dozen more years.
“I started in Cocoa, because at that time, there wasn’t even a Melbourne campus,” said Kenworthy, who eventually moved to the Melbourne campus in 1972.
A catcher with the University of Florida baseball team, Kenworthy earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Gators and played three years of varsity baseball.
As BCC baseball coach, he helped shape two state championship teams, and his young school snagged the state championship in 1975. Among his BCC players was Bruce Bochy, manager of the San Francisco Giants.
A charter member of the Space Coast Runners Club, Kenworthy was director of the Space Coast Marathon from 1978 to 1981. He has run the Space Coast marathon a couple of times, one of the dozen marathons he has finished.
“It is one of the longest continuously running marathons in Florida,” said Kenworthy, whose efforts for the local running community led to his induction into the Space Coast Runners Hall of Fame.
Like her husband of 48 years, Gloria Kenworthy is a career educator. Their three children – all fitness buffs – also followed their parents’ career paths. Russell is a certified athletic trainer, treating athletic injuries in Mississippi. Shannon is on the faculty at Eastern Florida State College, where she teaches calculus and statistics. In Virginia, daughter Laci teaches at the elementary school level.
By the time he retired in 1996, Kenworthy was an academic chair at BCC, a very different job from his current one with Pro-Health and Fitness Center.
“I started at the Melbourne Pro-Health on the exercise floor, helping the members get familiar with the equipment and the routines,” he said.
Ten years at the Merritt Island Pro-Health and five years at Viera location later, Kenworthy is still helping Pro-Health members maximize their workouts.
“I’ve gone from working with a population of 18 to 20-year-olds to an older crowd, but I enjoy being around both of them,” he said.
He has always enjoyed awakening the sporting spirit in those he coaches. As Brevard coach for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, Kenworthy helped participants train for marathons that would benefit the nonprofit.
“It put me among such a group of inspiring people,” he said. “It was very rewarding. So many of them had never done anything like it before.”
Kenworthy also umpired high school and college level baseball games for 28 years.
“Depending on who you talked to, I was a good or a bad umpire,” he joked.
He has been the official scorekeeper for the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Florida Tech since 1985, well before the Clemente Center existed.
“At the time I started, they played in a tin-walled gym that would rattle when the wind blew too hard,” he said.
Kenworthy plays handball several times a week, a sport he has enjoyed for more than four decades.
“Handball was really popular in the 60’s, and there’s a core of us old guys who still play it,” he said.
“The ball goes slower, but it takes longer to get into position because you don’t have the leverage of a racquet.”
He also keeps fit by running or walking three to five miles three days a week.
Baseball, unfortunately, is out of the question, as are the marathons.
“I’ve always enjoyed being around sports, but all those years of playing have caught up with my knees,” he said.
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