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A career worthy of enshrinement

Athletic director heading to Hall of Fame

Ken Babcock, the long-time athletic director at Durham College and president of Baseball Oshawa, is among the 2019 class of the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame. (Photo by Chris Jones)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

A name synonymous with athletics in the city is among those joining the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame this year.

Ken Babcock, athletic director at Durham College and president of Baseball Oshawa is joining the likes of Bobby Orr and Eric Lindros in the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame.

The athletic director sat down with The Oshawa Express to discuss his impending induction.

“[Being inducted is] a real honour,” says Babcock. “It has to do with recognition that I’m really proud is affiliated with the college.”

Babcock, 53, is originally from Brockville, Ont., but he says Oshawa is his second home. He even notes he has spent more time in Oshawa than his hometown.

He says he was fortunate to grow up playing a lot of sports, such as baseball, basketball and hockey.

Babcock says he played Junior B hockey as a goalie in Brockville, and baseball in both Oshawa and his hometown. He also says he played basketball while attending Durham College.

He originally went to Durham College in the Sports Management program, and was given a job by his predecessor Dave Stewart.

Babcock credits Stewart with much of his success, noting he might not have gotten a job with the school if it weren’t for him. He also says Stewart was the one who persuaded him to attend Durham in the first place.

Babcock says he met his wife in Oshawa, as she is a native of the city, but she went to rival Humber College.

He and his wife are raising their two children, a 21-year-old daughter who is finishing her time at Durham, and an 18-year-old son who is in Nebraska on a baseball scholarship.

With a chuckle, Babcock notes his mother told him: “It’s just amazing that I could find a job that involved sports, because if I spent half as much time on my schoolwork as I did on sports, I’d be a genius and going to Harvard.”

He says while he didn’t end up going to Harvard, he’s had a lot of experiences he believes are equal to attending the Ivy League school.

“It’s been a good career here,” observes Babcock.

While he’s proud his time with the college has played a part in his induction, he says he’s equally fond of his work with Baseball Oshawa.

“Baseball’s one of the sports I love and grew up playing,” he says.

He calls baseball his first love, noting the game “was the reason I got involved and got back in the game with Baseball Oshawa and volunteering. So that became a labour of love.”

Babcock says his family is very excited for him, and by chance, his son was up from Nebraska for the Christmas holiday.

“He was home at Christmas time, my daughter happened to be home and my wife was home,” he explains.

He says Jim Lutton and Leslie Seeley, both members of the Hall of Fame, came to his house to let him know personally.

“It was really nice that my family was there to share that moment,” he says.

One of the most memorable experiences for Babcock at Durham has been working with students.

“We work with all kinds of students here on campus,” he explains. “It’s really an exciting career to do that – it’s hard to explain. It keeps you young, the students keep you motivated, and then you see them grow through their time here before they graduate and they become sort of part of your collegiate family. It’s really a rewarding experience.”

He says there are benchmark memories as well, such as the many championships the school has won since he took over the position.

“Seeing teams succeed over and over and continue to set the bar for what is relatively a smaller college in enrollment, compared to some of the larger schools in Ontario, [is a highlight],” explains Babcock. “Keep in mind that success still continues with great coaches and keeping those great coaches and staff.”

Babcock and the other inductees will be inducted at a ceremony on May 29 at the Tribute Communities Centre.