Hundreds of people filled the Powers Catholic High School gymnasium Friday to pay their final respects to Jack Pratt, the famed and beloved high school and football coach who died Monday of Parkinsonâ??s disease. He was 84.
Pratt's laurels include three Class D state titles for basketball. He coached football and basketball at Powers, Kearsley, Grand Blanc and St. Matthew.
He made a lot of friends during his 50-year career. His rivals remember him as a formidable but admirable foe.
"He always seemed to compliment the other coach and the other team. That always disarmed me,â?? said Gene Hamilton, whoâ??s coached against Pratt.
Perhaps that was part of Pratt's strategy. But colleagues describe Pratt as a humble man who was above flattery and boasting. He just let his record speak for itself.
â??He would always come up and compliment you and compliment your team, and then beat ya. He was an amazing coach,â?? Hamilton said.
Prattâ??s legacy transcends generations. It brought students who've only heard of Jack Pratt to Friday's funeral mass.
Powers grad Clinton Byrd said, "It's just coming out here to pay homage to a great man, who laid a foundation at Powers.â??
No one kept score of how many people Pratt inspired during his lifetime, but Fridayâ??s celebration is evidence he won the hearts of an entire community.