Memories of the sports he has coached and played the past 40 years came flooding back to Jeb Backus last month when he was awarded Westport’s Sportsmen Award.
“Winning the award was unexpected, and I felt very honored,” he said. “I try to share stories about the things I've learned with the kids I coach because I want them to have the same opportunities as I did.”
This past May, Backus was recognized by the Sportsmen of Westport for his longtime commitment to the athletic community. To start, he is a board member and assistant coach for the Westport Little League and Westport PAL Football, which are two programs he also participated in as a child growing up in town.
“Westport is wonderful,” Backus said. “I have lived in the same neighborhood as my father for the past 23 years.”
This year, he also is gearing up to coach the Westport Wreckers travel baseball team, which he said is his true passion.
In college, he played varsity baseball at Flagler College in Florida and was named to the all-regional and all-American teams. He also was part of the Athletic Hall of Fame at Flaglar College when it was formed in 2004.
It is clear Backus’ passion for sports is in his veins. In 1989, his father Ed Backus also was awarded Westport’s Sportsmen Award.
“I’m a fourth-generation Westport resident, and to be recognized for my accomplishments by the Sportsmen is really special,” he said.
Backus’ sports memories extend beyond the town of Westport, though. As part of a Michael Bolton Charity Softball Game in October 1994, he was able to beat professional baseball player Barry Bonds in a home run-hitting contest.
Backus has worked at YMCAs in Wilton and Norwalk and currently is the senior program director at the Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA in Trumbull.