In his younger years, longtime Zebulon minister Jack Glasgow worked closely with baseball greats like Hank Aaron.
Q: You arrived at Zebulon Baptist Church in 1977 to become a youth minister, and in 1981, became the minister. With such a long and revered tenure in the church, it would be surprising for most people to learn that a life in ministry was far from your mind when you entered college – correct?
A: Yes, I wanted to be a lawyer and politician. I enjoyed social studies, politics and I liked public speaking and debate. When I entered Georgia Tech, I planned on majoring in economics and going to law school later.
Q: You grew up in Georgia?
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
A: I was born in Dothan, Alabama but I was raised in Atlanta. My father, who played basketball at Auburn University, was a coach and a teacher, and we moved to Atlanta for a job. I went to Atlanta public schools and it was fun growing up a coach’s son – we went to a lot of basketball and football games.
Q: Were you an athlete?
A: I did play football and basketball and I was involved with sports in high school but it took an interesting turn when I was 15 and I started a job as usher for the Atlanta Braves. I ended up working for them even after I graduated high school.
Q: What kept you there? Did you think of working for the Braves as a career?
A: I eventually did get a full-time job with them and worked with them for five seasons. I went from usher to working in the press box – posting the starting line-up for the people in the press and stuff like that. I eventually worked my way to the public relations department. I was there when Hank Aaron broke the home run record. It was some of the most fun I have ever had – they had me doing all kinds of fun things.
Q: So you got a chance to meet the players?
A: I did get a chance to meet the players. I spent time in the locker room, though I can’t say I got to know them personally. I remember the Braves had me help second baseman Felix Millan’s wife get her driver’s license. That was interesting. They were from the Dominican Republic and their English was not the best so there was this language barrier – I did help her. I got to meet Dusty Baker, who later became manager, and Ralph Garr. When Hank Aaron broke the record, I was told to go to the dugout to tell him that since there were so many media representatives there, we had to meet at a larger club house after the game. It was just so great to be able to go up to him and say, “Mr. Aaron, come with me.”
Q: What was baseball legend Hank Aaron like?
A: Very quiet. Very business like. I didn’t realize at the time that he had received hate mail and death threats because he was close to breaking Babe Ruth’s record so I am sure that was on his mind. But dealing with the players was not the only thing I had to do. Probably one of the most interesting was when Karl Wallenda walked across a tightrope that went the length of the stadium. He had one main request of the stadium staff – that two Bloody Marys be waiting for him after his tightrope walk so I was the one who had the job of making sure the Bloody Marys were there for him and I handed them to him. I also had to work concerts, like Led Zepplin. A Billy Graham crusade was held there. It was an interesting time.
Q: Was it the crusade that changed your mind about your future?
A: No – I was in college on a Naval ROTC scholarship and I thought I would eventually go on to become a Naval officer but it was while I was going to college I became involved in a church. It was my junior year and I worked with the teenagers at the church. It was during that time that I began to sense that this is what I was called to do.
Q: Did you change your major?
A: No, I graduated from Georgia Tech with my degree in economics but it was pursuit of a masters degree that led me to North Carolina. I came to Wake Forest so I could attend the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I started in the fall of 1977 and it was that same year I heard that Zebulon Baptist was looking for a youth minister. I ended up acquiring two masters at Southeastern – one in divinity and one in theology.
Q: Are you still a big sports fan? What other hobbies do you have?
A: I go to a lot of East Wake High games. My son went there, and now teaches and is a coach there.
Q: Just like your dad.
A: Yes, my dad taught English and coached. My son is a math teacher. They both coached football and tennis. My daughter is also a teacher, along with my son-in-law - they teach in Greenville. And they recently had a son so I am a new granddad so I am enjoying being a grandparent. I am still a big sports fan. I like the Carolina Hurricanes. My wife, Barbara, and I like musicals, movies. We like Broadway musicals.
Q: And you are still going strong behind the pulpit after 37 years. But is retirement on the horizon?
A: I still enjoy doing my job and I feel like I will continue for several more years.
Correspondent Dena Coward