Jack Schroeder never let the loss of his own sporting dream curb his own love of sport. When a leg injury derailed his prospects for a pro sports career, Jack entered the officiating ranks and for the next 50 years would craft a career that had few equals in Ontario, and indeed all of Canada.
Born and raised in Windsor, Jack attended Kennedy Collegiate where he was an outstanding multi-sport athlete for the Clippers, but it was his prowess on the baseball diamond that particularly stood out; so much so that by age 17 Jack had attracted the interest of the Philadelphia Phillies, who were prepared to sign him to a professional contract. However, just prior to signing with the Phils, Jack broke his leg while playing in the Ontario lacrosse championships. The injury dashed his dreams of a pro sports career however it opened the door to a whole new sporting arena. As a way of giving back to the sports community that gave him so many opportunities, Jack began officiating in the local high school ranks, where as a new teacher he also began his coaching career as well. From 1959-2001, he was an active official in basketball at the primary, secondary, intercollegiate and OBA levels while working dozens of city, regional and provincial championships.
It was on the gridiron though were Jack made his biggest mark on the local and provincial sports scene. From 1959 through 2007 he officiated football at all levels including ORFU, OUAA, OJFC, CJFC, OVFL, OQUAA, and NOFL. Jack became the first Windsor official to referee a Canadian Final and to have his own crew in the OUAA (15 years), where he would call 10 Yates Cup championship games, and 3 Western and 3 Eastern Canadian Finals. He also officiated 17 CJFC Jr. Finals and more than 40 local high school championships.
Jack was the CIAU’s Official of the Year in 1994 and, in 2005, became only the 3rd recipient of the CFL’s Sydney Halter Award for Best Football Official in Canada, including “excellence in officiating Canada-wide with a lifelong contribution to the community.”
For his lifelong dedication to officiating all levels of football and basketball at the local, provincial and national level, and in the process becoming the area’s most decorated official, Jack Schroeder takes his rightful place in the Windsor/Essex County Sports Hall of Fame, in the Builders’ category.