Enshrinement in Columbia: MSHSAA’s Jack Miles expanded girls sports, sportsmanship


Jack Miles counts himself among the fortunate ones in life. While most others have no choice but to hang up their cleats after playing their final game in high school or college, he spent his adult life working in sports.

That’s not to say Miles simply held down the fort, so to speak, in his 30 years at the Missouri High School Activities Association and another 10 years overseeing the Missouri State Senior Games.

No, he wanted to make an impact. And made many.

“Helping to introduce girls sports, that was one of the things I was most passionate about,” Miles said. He later added, “If athletics are good for the boys, they’re good for girls. That’s been my philosophy all through the years. Sports, they help kids learn many life skills.”

For all of his work, the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is proud to induct Miles, who never forgot the lessons learned from his days growing up in small-town Shelbina. Miles is among 15 individuals to be inducted on Sunday, Nov. 15, when the Hall also will name Mizzou great Jon Sundvold a Missouri Sports Legend. The ceremony, sponsored by Great Southern Bank and presented by Miller Professional Imaging/Mpix, noon reception will be followed by the 1 p.m. dinner, and tickets can be purchased by calling 417-889-3100.


Mentored by longtime MSHSAA executive director Irvin Keller, Miles served as the organization’s assistant executive director for 15 years before serving 15 years as Keller’s successor.

Along the way, Miles guided the association through rapid growth in the number of schools participating and the number of sports, including girls sports.

Those weren’t his only accomplishments but certainly among his most meaningful.

“I had come from a small town in northeast Missouri where we played girls basketball but no other girls sports,” Miles said, emphasizing that he was part of the MSHSAA team that expanded sports offerings for girls. “Instead of playing A and B team boys games on a given night, we played a girls game and a boys game. I had a sister (Peggy) who was an excellent basketball player, but she didn’t have an opportunity to go play beyond high school.”


Miles put himself in position to become a key part of the state association.

At Shelbina High School, he did it all – band, theater, football, basketball, track and baseball. His inspiration was his older brother, Carl, who pitched for the University of Missouri and briefly for manager Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics before going into teaching.

Even when Miles attended Mizzou, he stayed near sports, working in the athletic equipment room before earning a bachelor’s degree in education in 1959 and a master’s in 1960.

Keller hired him in 1962 after Miles served two years in the Army, including 10 months in Germany after the Soviet Union cut off land access to Berlin.

“He kind of took me under his wing and helped me develop a good philosophy of athletics,” Miles said. “He was a good educator and kept things in perspective.”

Miles had come from such an environment, playing for high school coaches who were fair — football coach B.L. Minor and basketball coach Gene Bartow.

“There’s a lot to be said about growing up in a small community,” said Miles, who played quarterback and was the holder for placekicker Charlie Rash, a future Mizzou standout. “I really benefitted from participating in interscholastic athletics. I had a football coach who had never played the sport, but he was a real student of the game.

“Bartow, he was just an excellent coach and even a better person. I learned a lot from him. He was a competitor but he wanted to do it the right way.”


Miles was promoted to executive director of MSHSAA in 1977. Until his retirement in 1992, the association reached several goals.

Those covered greater emphasis on the philosophy and objectives of interscholastic activities; a program to improve sportsmanship; catastrophic insurance for participants; the addition of the appeals committee; expansion of music and officials’ programs; development of computer programs to more efficiently administer district and state music festivals and athletic tournaments; and expansion of the MSHSAA office building. He credits Kent Kurtz, Becky Oakes and Kent Summers as key staffers who helped lead the association.

It’s no wonder, then, that Miles received numerous distinguished service awards.

After retirement, he joined the Show-Me State Games in 1995 at the urging of Gary Filbert in order to start the Missouri State Senior Games. The games, devoted to people 50 and older and offering 25 sports, grew entries from 435 to more than 1,500 by 2005.

Overall, what a career. He and his wife, Darlene, are parents to a son, Greg, and two daughters, Beth Guentert and Susan Cox. They have five grandchildren.

“I was blessed. My success can be attributed to the people I worked with. And the board of directors. They were very supportive and pointed you in the right direction,” Miles said. “Darlene, my wife of 56 years, has been extremely supportive. I’m not sure how she put up with me, but we made a pretty good team.”



What: Enshrinement in Columbia Class of 2015 presented by Great Southern Bank and presented by Miller Professional Imaging/Mpix

When: Sunday, Nov. 15 with noon reception, 1 p.m. dinner

Where: Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia

Honorees: As a Missouri Sports Legend, former Mizzou basketball star Jon Sundvold; former University of Missouri athletic director Joe Castiglione; former Mizzou/NFL defensive lineman Jerome Sally; Mizzou basketball great Al Eberhard; equestrian standout and instructor Gayle Lampe; former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Charlie James; longtime Show-Me State Games director Ken Ash; Mizzou team physician and sports medicine leader Dr. Pat Smith; Mizzou and Macon High School cheerleading coach Suzy Thompson; longtime Missouri State High School Activities Association director Jack Miles; Columbia high school tennis coach Ben Loeb; powerlifting champion Kate Walker; former Mizzou golf coach Richard Poe; Olympic race walker Larry Young; former Rock Bridge High School football coach and athletic director John Henage; and Mizzou super fan Alvin “Squeaky” Marquart.

Tickets: $150 each, or $1,500 for tables of 10. Sponsorships, including in the program guide, also are available.

Call: Missouri Sports Hall of Fame at 417-889-3100.