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Elks Sports Day Honors Jeff Hall the Legendary Wizard of Westwood

Updated: Jun 12

Elks Sports Day Honors Jeff Hall,

the Legendary Wizard of Westwood

Sasha Bush

The Ashland Beacon

Since 1975, the Ashland Elks Lodge #350 have been paying tribute to local athletes for their lifetime contributions both on and off the court with their annual Sports Day Program. Each honoree is carefully selected and very deserving of this award. This year’s honoree is man who needs no introduction… Westwood’s own Jeff Hall.

   Hall is a graduate of Fairview High School who was described as a force to be reckoned with when it came to the game of basketball. Elks Member and Chairman of the Board, George Stout shared, “Jeff was such an outstanding player during his time at Fairview High School and he went on to become an outstanding player at University of Louisville and no one is more deserving of this award than Jeff.”

   Raised in the heart of Westwood, where the streets are lined with friendly familiar faces and a sense of community pride runs deep, Hall captured the hearts of his hometown very early on. Hall attended Fairview High School, and made sure that everyone knew that when he took to the courts, he meant business and was giving it his all.

Hall’s talent on the basketball court quickly became apparent and the young man wearing the number 42 jersey soon became a household name. With a deadly jump-shot and his ability to become a brick wall, Hall was an absolute powerhouse on the court and his magical prowess quickly earned him the nickname of “The Wizard of Westwood.”

   Due to his unique outlook on the game of basketball and what it takes to become a success, Hall knew what he brought to the table and knew what it took to improve upon his already impressive array of talents.  Hall shared, “You hear a lot of players say that they ‘love’ the game and of course I love the game, too. But I don’t just love the game… I’m passionate about it and to me having passion is something that just runs deeper than love.” Hall’s passion for the game drove him to always push himself to do more, be more, and bring more to the game. “I always thought in the back of my mind that there was always someone out there that was working harder than me and longer than me. So, I always strived to match that effort and exceed it. I played the game because it’s what I loved to do… it’s what I was passionate about. So, it was always me against the game and that’s what really gave me my competitive drive.” Recalled Hall.

   Upon graduation from Fairview High School, Hall went on to play for the University of Louisville as a guard. During his time at the University of Louisville, Hall's skills flourished and his will to succeed and beat the best continued to grow.

The Wizard of Westwood had quite an amazing career at the University of Louisville, scoring a total of 1,294 points, averaging 8.9 points per game, while playing in a total of 145 games, which is an amazing feat.  From 1983- 1986 Hall’s time as Cardinal included two NCAA tournament Final Four appearances and a NIT final four. But the highlight of Hall’s career came at the end of his senior year. It was on March 31, 1986 that the smalltown boy from Westwood, still donning the number 42, helped lead his team to a 72-69 victory over Duke University, securing the 1986 NCAA Championship title.

   Elks Chairman Stout reminisced about the day that everyone in Westwood cheered for Louisville, “When the University of Louisville played Duke for the championship (1986 NCAA Championship) the late Coach Crum made the decision to put Jeff back in the game during the last12 minutes and had him defend Duke's best player (Johnny Dawkins). Jeff shut him (Dawkins) down and the University of Louisville took home a national championship. I remember how excited everyone was… everyone except for Duke that is!”

   You would think that after winning a national championship that nothing could make your year any better. Well… for Hall this simply wasn’t true. on May 31, 1986, Hall married his best friend, Terry, and the two have been inseparable ever since. By mid-June of 1986, Hall was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the 6th round (118th pick) of the 1986 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, Hall never had the opportunity to go on and play for the Pacers, but simply being picked was an honor for Hall.

   Hall would later move on to coaching where he led both Rose Hill Christian School and Ashland Paul G. Blazer to a 16th Region Championship title. As a coach, Hall’s goal was to keep his athletes inspired, hungry, and wanting more. Hall understood that in order to make great players… you have to first start with how they perceive the game. “I would rather have to tame and calm down a player who has a passion for the game than to have to motivate, scream and yell at them all the time to keep them motivated.”

   On Saturday June 15, 2024, at the Elks Lodge #350, Hall’s longtime friend and Owner of Clarks Pump-N-Stop, Rick Clark, will be introducing his best friend since the first grade for Elk Sports Day award. Clark shared that it’s an honor for him to be able to do so. Clark explained, “Jeff and I met the first day of first grade, we played ball, together growing up Jeff is  like my brother. Jeff spent a lot of time at our house, and we just have so many great memories. In my opinion Jeff is the most decorative and greatest player that has ever came out of the 16th region. He had more determination than I have ever seen in any one man have. He is a winner… it doesn’t matter what he is doing… it could be a game of Ping-Pong and he will still win.”

    Clark shared an inside joke that he and Hall have had for many years, “Growing up playing ball together and then both being starters in high school, I always tell Jeff you know if it weren’t for me, you might not have made it big because every time I had the basketball I made sure to pass it to you.”

    Being overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and pride for his hometown, Hall shared his thoughts on being chosen for this prestigious award… “This is such an unbelievable honor and what makes it even better is the fact that this is an award that I’m being given because the people from my hometown of Westwood want me to have it. So, this honor isn’t just for me… it’s for my family, my friends, my hometown, and Fairview High School.”

    If  you would like to attend the 47th Annual Elks Sports Day on Saturday, June 15, there is still time. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at The Elks Lodge, The Trophy House at 20th Street and Carter Avenue, and at Sanitation District No. 2 at 2601 Main Street in Westwood.

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