Three with RIC ties elected to R.I.I.L. Hall of Fame
Kevin Jackson, RIC head men’s and women’s cross country/track & field coach, along with Athletic Hall of Famers James Adams (posthumously) and Paul Donovan ’51, ’67, will be inducted into the Rhode Island Interscholastic League’s (R.I.I.L.) Hall of Fame at a banquet held at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick on Wednesday, May 2.
Kevin Jackson’s involvement with track and field dates back to high school, where he was a successful runner at Pilgrim. That initial encounter with the sport turned into a life-long passion that has included coaching and the formation of the Providence Cobras Track Club.
Jackson was an All-State and All-New England Harrier at Pilgrim and was a member of the 1976 team that won the New England cross country title. Jackson is also a former highly successful cross country and boys indoor and outdoor track coach at Hope High School. He is in his 11th season guiding the RIC cross country and track programs.
Adams, the former assistant athletic director and head men’s basketball coach as RIC, was inducted into RIC’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. Adams and great basketball history are synonymous in Rhode Island.
The coach, who died in June of 2009 at the age of 73, piloted the Central High Knights for 12 years (1960-72), which included the era of super-star center Marvin Barnes. Under Adams, Central made the state playoffs eight of those dozen seasons, including two consecutive undefeated seasons and four state titles in a row. But basketball wasn’t Adams’ only métier.
He briefly coached football at Hope High in the early 1960s, and later embarked on an eight-season career at Central. During that period, the Knights won two state championships in Class B.
Donovan, a former basketball and soccer student-athlete while an undergraduate at Rhode Island College from 1946-51, was inducted into RIC’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Over the span of an amazing 44 years (1957-2001), a generation of Rhode Island high school baseball players have benefited from the knowledge of the quiet and unassuming Paul Donovan; a “gentleman coach’’ in the truest sense.
A La Salle Academy graduate, where he ran track and played baseball, Donovan earned Providence Journal-Bulletin All-State accolades in both areas. After graduating from RIC, Donovan played professional and semi-pro baseball for 13 seasons, interspersed with four years’ service in the U.S. Marine Corps.