At 11 a.m. Saturday, June 30, 2012, the Grinnell community gathered in Herrick Chapel to celebrate the life of long-time coach and faculty member John Pfitsch. If you were unable to attend, we invite you to view the video of the service, read others’ memories and reflections of John’s life, and share your own.
It is with sadness and fond remembrance that we inform the campus community of the death Friday, June 15, of long-time coach and faculty member John Pfitsch. Beginning in 1948, John and Pioneer athletics were synonymous. He coached in virtually every sport during a 50-year career and even in retirement directed the men's soccer program and his beloved Pfitsch’s Pfishes. In addition to many seasons, records, and championships in basketball and soccer John also was justifiably proud of his role in instituting women's sports during his long tenure as athletic director.
After graduating from the University of Texas Pfitsch earned his M.A. in physical education and assisted famous Coach Phog Allen at the University of Kansas before and after service in World War II. At Grinnell he helped obtain a $2.2 million federal loan and headed the planning committee for construction of the former Physical Education Complex, where the fieldhouse was named in his honor.
Our thoughts are with the Pfitsch family at this time of honoring John’s life and legacy.
Read more about John Pfitsch in Enjoying Life: A Conversation with John Pfitsch, originally published in The Grinnell Magazine Spring 2010.
See John Pfitsch in action as he and Kenneth Christiansen, biology, describe past Grinnell College president Dr. Howard Bowen in an excerpt from Grinnell Stories: A Documentary History of a Pioneering Midwestern College on the Occasion of its 150th Anniversary, by David Buck & Co.