By Lauren Wiseman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 13, 2010; 10:13 PM
Labor lobbyist, college hoops star John F. 'Jack'
Sullivan dies at 75
John F. "Jack" Sullivan, 75, a retired labor
lobbyist who as a young man was a college
basketball star and Secret Service agent, died
Sept. 16 at the University of Maryland Medical
Center in Baltimore of respiratory failure due to
Mr. Sullivan, a native Washingtonian, was a
standout athlete at his high school but rose to regional prominence while playing
basketball in the 1950s for what is now Mount St. Mary's University, a Catholic
college in Emmitsburg, Md. He remains the college's all-time leading scorer.
As a 6-foot-4 forward, he scored 2,672 points during his career and holds 11 career
and single-season records, including field goals and free throws attempted and made.
From 1953 to 1957, he averaged 25.4 points per game - still a school record - and
11.6 rebounds, which ranks fourth all time at Mount St. Mary's. During his senior year,
he scored 1,070 points for an average of 33.4 points a game, the highest
one-season mark in school history. He led the team to a 27-5 record and a spot in the
NCAA College Division II Final Four.
During the tournament, he scored 185 points in five games, setting an NCAA Division
When he graduated from college in 1957, Mr. Sullivan was the 14th overall pick in the
NBA draft, selected by the Philadelphia Warriors. A year later, he enlisted in the
Marine Corps, where he earned a spot on the elite all-Service Team and became the
"most valuable hoopster in the Marine Corps," the Baltimore Sun reported at the time.
He was named to the Amateur Athletic Union's all-American team in 1959 and was
selected as an alternate on the 1960 U.S. Olympic team. In 1961, he returned to
professional basketball when he played for the Washington Tapers in the fledgling
American Basketball Association.
Soon afterward, Mr. Sullivan became a special agent with the Secret Service. He
was assigned to the Boston Field Office and, according to his family, was stationed
at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Mass., when President John F. Kennedy
was assassinated in 1963.
After a few years, he returned to his home town to coach the boys' varsity basketball
team at Gonzaga College High School. From 1979 to 1987, he coached at the
Academy of the Holy Name, a girls' high school in Silver Spring.
His labor career began in 1981 as director of government relations to the
International Brotherhood of Teamsters. When he retired in 1996, he was a lobbyist
for what was then the Center to Protect Workers' Rights, the research and
development institute of the Building and Construction Trades Department, which is
part of the AFL-CIO.
John Francis Sullivan was born July 27, 1935, and was a 1953 graduate of St.
Anthony's High School in the District.
From 1989 to 1996, he coached the women's basketball team at Catholic University.
In 1991, he was named coach of the year by the Capital Athletic Conference.
When his children were young, he coached basketball for the Catholic Youth
Organization. He was an Adelphi resident.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, the former Patricia "Tish" Dailey of Adelphi; six
children, Timothy Sullivan of Potomac, John F. Sullivan Jr. of Clarksville, Maureen
McTavish and Patricia Quinn, both of Mount Airy, Michael D. Sullivan of Adelphi and
Edward F. Sullivan of Severna Park; a brother, Charles J. Sullivan Jr. of Severna
Park; two sisters, Rosemary McLaughlin of Seattle and Ellen Arrascada of Reno,
Nev.; and 15 grandchildren.