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Legendary championship coach is honored by his former players

The Fewster Assistant Coaching Fund will support a young Hopkins coach breaking into the business
Posted October 22, 2015
Coach Wilson Fewster, left, with lacrosse coach Bob Scott.
IMAGE: JOHNS HOPKINS ATHLETICS Coach Wilson Fewster, left, with lacrosse coach Bob Scott. IMAGE: JOHNS HOPKINS ATHLETICS

"Coach Fewster didn't get too close to his players," former Blue Jays football player Al Freeland, A&S '61, recalls of Wilson Fewster, A&S '50, his championship coach in the late '50s and early '60s.

"But a year after I graduated, he called me and invited me to dinner. From there, we stayed in touch over the years. He'd come to team reunions. I sent him holiday cheese every Christmas. When he passed, I really wanted to do something to honor him." 

Freeland consulted current Johns Hopkins football coach Jim Margraff and Athletics Director Tom Calder. They agreed the most fitting way to make Fewster's name live on at Homewood would be to invest in the program's young, up-and-coming coaches. The goal was to raise $250,000 and establish the Fewster Assistant Coaching Fund, which each year would help support living expenses for a young Hopkins coach breaking into the business.

"We've gotten contributions from nearly 100 former players," says Freeland, who has been a retired surgeon for 10 years. "That shows you what people thought of [Fewster]. I called him Fewster the Rooster, since he was king of the barnyard. What a shrewd tactician. He was a very confident, humble, and modest guy, a straight-up role model."

The Fewster Assistant Coaching Fund has named its first recipient, Dan Wodicka, Engr '14, the former Blue Jay wide receiver who is the school's all-time leader in career receptions (260). Wodicka will receive $10,000 to defray living expenses as he enters his second year of coaching under Margraff. 

"Coach Margraff sat me down last year and told me this is the [low-paying] lifestyle of a young coach," says Wodicka, who earned a degree in biomedical engineering but quickly gravitated back to his favorite sport. "This is what I want to do more than anything else. I am excited and honored by this."

Fewster, who died on June 11, 2014, at age 87, made a huge impact at Johns Hopkins in football and lacrosse as a coach, and in lacrosse as a player. As a coach he led the football team to a pair of MAC South titles (1959, 1960) and one Mason Dixon Championship (1959). He was a three-time All-American in lacrosse and a member of the Class of 1950 lacrosse team.