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Golfers at the Jeff Kennard Memorial Golf Outing

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Carrying on a Legacy

The Jeff Kennard Memorial Scholarship continues a local athlete’s tradition of supporting young baseball players.

Jeff Kennard was a two-sport Hall of Famer at Centerville High School. He still holds receiving records for the Elks football team. Jeff attended Rend Lake College in Illinois and was drafted by the New York Yankees in 2001. In 13 professional seasons with four baseball organizations, Jeff was an all-star at every level of play. 

He was offered a job as a pitching coach upon retirement but chose to return to the Centerville area to work with young athletes. Jeff instructed pitchers and hitters at Extra Innings before opening Beyond the Game (BTG). After BTG closed, Jeff transitioned to hitting and pitching instruction at Elevate Sports Training. Unfortunately, in 2018 Jeff and his family learned he had a rare and aggressive form of cancer.   

Nick Redlin and Jeff were close friends, having played baseball and football together from sixth grade through their senior year in 2000. After Jeff’s passing, Nick initially worked with the Centerville Baseball Dugout Club, then created a vision with key committee members to establish The Jeff Kennard Memorial Scholarship as its own nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

“Jeff and I were really close. Being able to carry on his legacy is important. This is one way of keeping his influence on people in baseball and in life alive. His reach goes beyond the community, so part of our mission is telling his story and getting it out there, not just in Centerville but in the surrounding communities as well,” Nick explains.

The Jeff Kennard Memorial Scholarship was established in 2019 to support a graduating senior on the Centerville High School (CHS) varsity baseball team. Centerville’s Dugout Club funded the first scholarship to honor Jeff, who lost his fight with cancer just months before.

The scholarship fund provides $2,500 to a player or players who exemplify the attributes that Jeff taught and portrayed. Recipients are team players who not only show strong leadership, professionalism, and great sportsmanship but also support and ensure the inclusion of all teammates. CHS coaches have the final say in the selection process accounting for classroom leadership and volunteer work as well.

Colin Becker is a 2022 recipient of the Jeff Kennard Memorial Scholarship. He is currently a freshman at the University of Findlay and a pitcher on the baseball team. Colin worked with Jeff years ago. He remembers pitching advice Jeff gave him, “He told me, ‘It doesn’t matter if you hit a batter. It’s their fault if they don’t get out of the way.’” The advice helped him pitch without fear.

Regarding the scholarship, Colin says, “It was an unexpected honor. I was thankful to be part of a team that was supportive of each other. The scholarship has helped me with my future.”

Donations are also awarded by the scholarship fund. The first donation was given in the form of a sponsorship for Tommy Ward, who worked with a recreational baseball league in West Carrollton. He explains, “I knew Nick from coaching against him. I was caught off guard and humbled. We were able to purchase equipment for the league.” 

Douglas Taylor, Jeff’s father says, “Parents want to know they raised their kids right. There was never a doubt with Jeff.” He stresses, “We are honored and thrilled with Nick and the committee's work. They understand how much the community meant to Jeff.” He acknowledges that Jeff’s friends understood his impact and legacy: "Jeff’s impact wasn’t completely apparent to me until I experienced five hours of mourners.” 

Nick reflects on Jeff and how he would react to the attention the memorial scholarship brings, “In terms of how he interacted on the field, I don’t know that you’d ever know that he was this top-line pitcher. He was a great team player and a great friend. He’s probably yelling at me right now because he never wanted to be in the spotlight. He’d much rather stay under the radar, do his work, and put in the time.” 

Nick considers 2023 as the second full year The Jeff Kennard Scholarship is able to proceed with all plans. COVID safety protocols made some fundraising activities difficult during the first few years, but fundraisers are now scheduled throughout 2023.  

The Jeff Kennard Memorial Classic Baseball Tournament will be held from June 30 to July 2 at Action Sports Center in Dayton. Nick says, “The baseball tournament is what we’ve wanted to do since we started since Jeff was a baseball player. We’re excited about this.” There are already 40 teams signed up for the tournament. For registration and more information, visit 

The Third Annual Jeff Kennard Memorial Golf Outing is scheduled for August 4 at The Golf Club at Yankee Trace. The golf outing provides numerous opportunities to participate through donating, volunteering or golfing. Jeff’s family often assists with the outing. Tommy is also registered for the golf outing. He says, “The work they’re doing is fantastic.” An event schedule, sponsorship, and registration information are available at 

The Second Annual Jeff Kennard Memorial Softball Tournament is planned for the fall. Elevate Sports Training sponsors the girls' softball tournament. The event will look to build on the success of last year’s tournament, which featured 28 teams. 

Jeff’s motto was, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Jeff worked hard in all phases of his career. The Jeff Kennard Memorial Scholarship mirrors that commitment and carries on a great legacy of caring for young athletes in the community.

You can support The Jeff Kennard Memorial Scholarship through attendance, sponsorship, raffle donations, or volunteering. Monetary donations should be directed to

  • Check presentation with Tommy Ward in West Carrollton.
  • Left: Colin Becker, 2022 recipient of the Jeff Kennard Memorial Scholarship.
  • A custom portrait of Jeff commissioned by the owners of Double Days.
  • Golfers at the Jeff Kennard Memorial Golf Outing
  • Jeff's Dad Doug with his niece.