James W. “Skipper” Fairbanks, a sports legend in the Red Bank and Hixson areas, died Sunday.
Mr. Fairbanks had continued to coach boxing at a small gym in Red Bank up into his eighties.
He was honored by the Red Bank Commission by the naming of the Skipper W. Fairbanks Recreational Complex.
It was noted that he initiated Dixie Youth baseball in Red Bank in 1962 and “has worked for the good of the people of Red Bank for 60 years. He has been a respected teacher and coach at Red Bank Middle School and has taught by example.”
In his honor, Red Bank’s facility at 640 Morrison Springs Road has been dedicated as The Skipper W. Fairbanks Recreational Complex.
He played baseball for three years and football four years at Red Bank High. He began working with Red Bank youth in 1954. The program grew to five fields with over 450 boys and girls taking part.
Mr. Fairbanks was head baseball coach at Red Bank Middle from 1988-1007. He was coach of the year several times.
He served as assistant football coach at Notre Dame in 1956 and Red Bank High in 1957. He had an undefeated season as head football coach for Bridgeport High in 1948. He was Sequatchie Valley Conference Coach of the Year.
He was head coach for Red Bank Middle football from 1987 to 2002 and was Middle School coach of the year three times.
Skipper Fairbanks was a TSSAA football official for 42 years. He worked state playoffs 30 times and he worked the state final game in 2001 played at Vanderbilt.
He received the A.F. Bridges Award in 2002.
Perhaps best known for his boxing, he boxed at Red Bank High and was a five-time Golden Gloves champion and three-time Frye Institute champion.
He won a number of other boxing honors.
He coached boxing to some 3,000 kids during a long career.
He was inducted into Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia Hall of Fame and the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame.
He was given the Walt Lauter Lifetime Achievement Award.