Jack Costello was a tireless promoter of collegiate sport as a hockey coach and athletic director at St. Clair College, a hockey convenor at the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) level, and a founder of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA).
Costello was born in South Porcupine, Ontario into the renowned Costello hockey family. His well-formed hockey ability showed itself during a successful junior career with St. Michael’s College in Toronto. Costello graduated to the Senior men’s ranks immediately thereafter, which brought him to Essex County for six seasons with the Windsor Bulldogs. Costello was a forward on the legendary 1963 Allan Cup Champion Bulldogs, still the only Windsor team to have raised the Allan Cup as Canadian Senior men’s champions. By 1967, Costello had turned to coaching and sports administration and had established a men’s hockey program at St. Clair College. He led the Saints to five OCAA Championships, at which time he began focusing solely on the administration of sport at the College and within the OCAA. In 1972, he helped lay the groundwork for the CCAA.
Costello took a leadership role in establishing collegiate hockey at the national level, leading negotiations and obtaining official recognition from the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association. The template he helped build for establishing hockey at the national level was used to help form the national body for Canadian collegiate sport. He later looked on proudly as St. Clair College won one of the CCAA’s first national hockey championships in 1976.
Costello served as CCAA hockey convenor and an OCAA representative for five years following the formation of the CCAA. He continued to play an important role in the growth of the national collegiate body, promoting other sports at the national level, spearheading research that identified potential national championship sports, and obtaining funding and support from Sport Canada for these endeavours. Costello was honoured for his efforts in 2003 with his induction into the OCAA Hall of Fame. In 2009, he received the WESPY Legacy Award. In 2014 he was inducted as Founder into the CCAA Sports Hall of Fame and in 2015 he received the Sport Achievement Award from the University of Windsor Sports Hall of Fame.
For all his work in promoting collegiate sport at St Clair College and at the provincial and national levels – along with a richly-deserved nod to his place in Windsor-Essex sport history as a member of that magical ’63 Bulldogs Allen Cup Championship team – Jack Costello rightly takes his place as a Builder in the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame.