University of Delaware Women’s Cross Country Coach Jim Fischer Inducted Into Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
March 24, 2012
Top Photo Courtesy of Jon Rafal, DSMHOF
WILMINGTON, Del. -- University of Delaware women’s cross country head coach Jim Fischer, who has devoted over 30 years of service to the track & field community both at UD and in the state, was one of nine men and women inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame in a ceremony May 17 at the Chase Center.
Fischer (at left in photo), who served as head coach of the Blue Hen men’s cross country and track & field teams from 1982 until 2011 and recently completed his fourth year at the helm of the UD women’s cross country squad, was one of five inductees with ties to the University of Delaware.
In addition to Fischer, also inducted as part of the Class of 2012 were Jack Baly, Rev. Joseph’s Beattie, Mike Clark, Terri Dendy, Albert Horne, J. Alvin “Slats” Laramore, Lori Van Sickle, and John Walsh. Beattie, Horne, and Laramore were inducted posthumously.
Baly, who was recognized for his basketball career as a player, coach, and referee, played for the Blue Hens in 1958-61 and led head coach Irv Wisniewski’s squad in scoring with 17.0 points per game in 1960-61 when he was a senior captain; Dendy, a track standout who competed in the 1988 Olympics, began her coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Delaware under Fischer; Van Sickle, a four-sport standout in high school who has gained notoriety as a trailblazing local golf professional, played softball for two seasons at Delaware; and Walsh, who was named state Coach of the Year in football, volleyball, and swimming during his career at Archmere Academy, was a three-year standout in football under head coach Dave Nelson for the Blue Hens in 1955-57 and also played baseball.
United States Vice-President Joe Biden, who played high school football under Walsh at Archmere Academy, was among the guests at the ceremony. Biden spoke briefly, congratulating all the inductees and giving special praise to Walsh, who did not attend due to a recent illness.
Fischer earned his third major award of the year. He was recognized by Special Olympics Delaware at its Night of Heroes Dinner in October for his 20 years of volunteer service with the organization, and in March received the Delaware Sportswriters and Broadcasters Association Herm Reitzes Award, which is presented to a person who exhibits exceptional community service to the state.
“I am thankful to be part of the 2012 Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame induction class,” said Fischer in his address to the Hall of Fame crowd. “I am both honored and humbled to receive this special award. So many people have influenced my life and career in Delaware and I have gained so many good friends in the Delaware running community. I have thoroughly enjoyed working each and every day and I’ve taken great pride in watching student-athletes grow, make great friends, and move on as alumni to successful careers.”
Since arriving at Delaware from his native Minnesota in 1982, Fischer has been a fixture at the University of Delaware and in the state running community. He has guided over 100 athletes to conference titles in cross country and track, helped countless others to superior college achievement, and broadened access to the sport throughout Delaware and elsewhere.
He has been named conference Coach of the Year five times and led five teams to league titles and 12 others to runner-up finishes.
A nationally-recognized leader in the sport, he has been president of the NCAA Division I Cross Country Coaches Association and coached the East team at the 1991 Olympic Festival. He has been a goodwill ambassador and clinician in Honduras, North Yemen, Egypt and China. He has been a board member of USA Track & Field’s High Performance Division and Mid Atlantic Association.
As an assistant professor of physical education, he has instructed and coached many of the state’s track coaches. On his own time, he has trained thousands of Delaware adults in a Tuesday Night Group that he founded and has operated for the benefit of the community for many years. He has served on the board of directors for Girls on the Run, and been an adviser to the Leukemia Society and Special Olympics Delaware. He founded the Delaware Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1994, and remains its president.