Jack Todd embodied all the best characteristics the Peddie Sports Hall of Fame strives to honor: athletic excellence, humility and service to the Peddie community. Todd’s grit and tenacity across three different team sports are still an inspiration to those who saw him in action.
At 6 feet 2 inches tall and 230 pounds, Todd was physically imposing. But he was remarkably agile and quick for an athlete his size. His advisor described him as one of those “athletically gifted kids” who sought success and embraced it without fanfare. “It’s a miracle the way Jack’s on-field toughness is matched by his kind-hearted, gentle personality off it,” he said. While his name is not among the Peddie career leaders in touchdowns, points or RBI, the Sports Hall of Fame Committee universally agrees that the Hall of Fame would be incomplete without Todd’s induction.
As a member of the 1970 undefeated football team, Sports Hall of Fame Class of 1990, Todd complemented 1,000-yard back Tyrell Hennings ’71. Assistant coach Charlie Clark ’66 said, “Jack could always be found selflessly blocking for Tyrell, if not himself ramming the ball down the throats of helpless linebackers. But, Jack’s most important contribution that year was his role as the team’s spiritual leader, like having a 12th man on the field.” Rich Hutchinson ’71 recalled a play at Williamson College of the Trades when “Jack powered around left end and literally sent the would-be tackler flying out of bounds, with a crackling sound that seemed to echo for minutes. But as great an athlete as he was, Jack’s will more than matched his physical skills.”
Todd’s gridiron success carried over to the basketball court, where he emerged as an impact performer midway through his sophomore year. During the 1968–69 and 1969–70 basketball seasons, the Falcons compiled a 33–11 record and captured two NJISAA Class A championships. Todd performed at the highest level in the clutch, grabbing crucial rebounds on each end of the floor and making the right plays.
A three-year starting catcher and senior co-captain for Peddie baseball, Todd helped the Falcons to an overall mark of 43–10. As a sophomore, Todd was already a top-notch defender with a cannon-like throwing arm. Clark coached Todd during his senior season. “No one would dare round third base without noticing Jack’s stocky, brute presence blocking home plate. Also, Jack was my number four hitter following major league recruit Brian Masella ’71 in the lineup. If you were the pitcher, you had no choice but to pitch to one of these home run hitters. Truly, they were a baseball manager’s delight.”
Todd was president of the freshman class, served as sports editor for The Peddie News and yearbook, and was elected to the Gold Key Society. In addition, he volunteered as a campus tour guide and was an elected member of the Student Honor Committee.
Hutchinson concluded: “Our Class of 1971 had an amazing group of talented, intelligent and unique people. But Jack was always the best of us.”