Last week featured the annual preview luncheon for the Jack Bennett Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament. Terry Pundiak whipped out his trusty harmonica and led us in a rousing version of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”.
President Gordon presented the Rotary Football Trophy to Phillipsburg Athletic Director Kyle Fleming in honor of the Stateliners win on Thanksgiving Day.
Basketball Chair Lew Fish recalled the 27-year history of the event and the impact Jack Bennett had in making it such a great success. Coaches from Easton, Phillipsburg, Freedom, and Emmaus took pride in introducing their Senior Captains. The season is just beginning and the players are looking forward to next week’s competition. Easton Boys Coach Eric Jacobs has coached in the event with 4 different jobs including stints with the Easton Girls team and DelVal.
Easton Girls Coach Dave Lutz provided some history of the event. He told about a 1993 trip through a snowstorm to play top-ranked Williamsport. The late arrival coupled with minimal time to warmup led to a predictable rout of the Rovers. A better solution was needed and the Athletic Directors from Phillipsburg and Easton decided a home town-based tournament would do the trick. Easton Rotary became involved in 1997 based on a suggestion from Easton Rotarian John Leone. Lafayette College served as the venue during the early years, but in recent times the games have been played at the Easton Middle School. The Tournament was officially named in honor of Jack Bennett in 2010.