Last year, members of the 1965 and ’75 Seymour High School baseball teams held dual reunions in Seymour.
At the get-together, many former players discussed ways of raising money for current and future Seymour Owl baseball teams.
One of the ideas talked about was starting an endowment for future teams in the name of former coach John Britton.
That idea recently turned into a reality.
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“The ’65 team was coach Britton’s first, so it was really neat to see him interact with his first team,” a former player said. “Coach took time to make every player feel that he was an important part of Seymour baseball and he spoke with everyone in length.
“The older, former Seymour Baseball Owls strongly believe that coach Britton’s diligence, preparation and love of the game catapulted Seymour baseball’s storied history and primed it for future success.
“We all enjoyed going to practice, playing games, working on the diamond, silk screening T-shirts, and going over the rules at each base before ‘big’ games. Most players still know the baseball signs that were used 40-50 years ago.”
The John Britton Seymour High School Baseball Fund will pay an annual grant to support the Owls baseball program.
“Endowed funds such as the Britton Fund are a good means of supporting organizations, nonprofits and programs that donors care about,” said Community Foundation of Jackson County president & CEO Dan Davis. “Their gifts continue to pay dividends in perpetuity. They can be a wonderful way to honor someone who’s made a great difference in your life.”
The Britton Fund joins others at the Foundation that benefit Seymour Community Schools, including the Seymour Schools-Elementary Schools Fund, Seymour Schools-Middle School Fund, Seymour Schools-High School Fund, Seymour Schools-Fine Arts Fund and the Seymour Schools-Athletic Department Fund.
Britton said he appreciates his former players starting the fund.
“I was completely surprised,” he said. “Gregg Sciarra called me and told me they were starting it and I was completely surprised.
“I never expected anything like that. I thought it was a great honor, and I appreciate all the people that worked on it.”
Britton was head coach of the Owls from 1965 to 1978 and compiled a record of 243-137 for a .640 winning percentage.
His first team had a record of 9-5, and his 1966 team went 11-7 and claimed the first of five South Central Conference championship teams he guided.
His other SCC titles came in 19667, ‘69, 1973 and ’74.
Britton coached the Owls to nine sectional titles (1967-69, 1971-75 and 1978), and to regional titles in 1974 and 1978.
His 1972 (22-5), ’73 (21-9) and ’74 (29-5) topped 20 victories.
Britton was a North South All-star coach in 1978, he coached two all-state players, Will Wienhorst and Chris Kleber, North-South all-stars Randy Ude, Tim Schrink and Kleber, and professional players Stan Schroer, Mike Russell and Luke Wrenn.
“This endowment is a great way of honoring a man that did so much for Seymour baseball,” current Owls head coach Jeremy Richey said. “I am sure that he will appreciate this because it was started by former players of his to honor him.”
The original goal was to raise $5,000 to $20,000, and the baseball alumni have met the minimum.
A spokesman said other things may be in the works such as baseball trips with Britton.
Anyone may donate to the Britton Fund or any of the other 142 funds administered by the Foundation.
For information about donating, call the Foundation at 812-523-4483 or go to its website at cfjacksoncounty.org and click on “Donate Now.”