Jack Kearns

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Jack Kearns
Class of 1990
Non-Participant Category
Hall of Fame bio:click
World Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee

Name: Jack Kearns
Alias: Young Kid Kearns
Birth Name: John Leo McKernan
Born: 1882-08-17
Hometown: Seattle, Washington, USA
Birthplace: Waterloo, Michigan, USA
Died: 1963-07-07 (Age:80)
Pro Boxer: Record

John Leo McKernan was born in Michigan in 1882. His family soon moved to North Dakota, and then to Washington state. He played semi-professional baseball for awhile before boxing as "Young Kid Kearns." [1] He took on the name of "Jack Kearns," but was often known as "Doc" Kearns.

The March 12, 1909 Tacoma Daily News reported that he and boxer Kid Scaler had been arrested for selling liquor to fifteen-year-old Pearl Ohman at Scaler's saloon in Spokane, WA. The Feb. 26, 1910 Spokane Press reported that Kearns had quit as the matchmaker and boxing instructor for the East Side AC, after only a month [2]. (Boxing in Spokane at the time was having a difficult time, due to interference by the authorities. [3]) By late 1911, he was in the sand and gravel business in Spokane, according to the Sept. 11, 1911 Tacoma Daily News.

Mickey Walker & Kearns

Per the Dec. 19, 1918 Tacoma News-Tribune, Biddy Bishop met Kearns, who was driving a horse team at the time, soon after Bishop had moved to Spokane from San Francisco after the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Bishop and Kearns joined forces to start a newspaper, but the paper folded after only two editions had been published. While Bishop then went his own way, Kearns moved on to manage Kid Scaler, and then to Vancouver, British Columbia, where he eventually hooked up with Fighting Dick Hyland. From there, Kearns went to San Francisco, where he took over the helm of Fighting Billy Murray. They both sailed to Australia, when Kearns had Joe Bonds sent over from the States to fight in Kearns's small stable, which apparently also included Les Darcy by 1916. [4]

When Kearns returned to San Francisco, Jack Curley turned over to Kearns the management of "an obscure boxer in Salt Lake City"--the future world champion and boxing icon Jack Dempsey. (The Sept. 5, 1917 Tacoma Tribune published an article with the headline: "Kearns Believes He Has Champion." In Kearns's letter to the paper, in the December 1 edition, he called Dempsey the "Submarine Destroyer.") See also, the August 17, 1917 Seattle Star [5].

Kearns later managed Mickey Walker, Archie Moore, and Joey Maxim.

On March 18, 1932, Kearns was granted a default divorce from Legana Kearns of New York City. Portland Oregonian

According to the March 16, 1934, Wenatchee Daily World, p. 17, Kearns was being sued for paternity and child support by Miss Elizabeth Williams. (Mary Helen McKernan may have been the child's name.)

Per newspaper wire reports, such as that found in the Tacoma News-Tribune, on March 23, 1945, Kearns was indicted in New York City for 26 counts of mail fraud. Bail was set at $3,500. His co-defendants were Harry (Packy) Lennon and Gloria Carruthers (also known as Princess Zulieka, an astrologist).

Jack "Doc" Kearns died July 17, 1963.

Jack Kearns Gallery