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James T. Van Gorden - Bloomer

03/01/2000, 12:00am CST
By Wisconsin Sports Network

Inducted in 2000

James graduated from Eau Claire Memorial High School in 1959 where he played football, basketball and baseball. He was selected to the 1958 Wigwam Wisemen All-American high school football team, the All-Northwest football team, was honorable mention All-State, and played on the 1959 state basketball team.

He attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota from 1959-60 and then transferred to UW-Eau Claire where he graduated with a B.S. degree in 1965. There he played football from 1961-1964.

College honors include:

1963 and 1964 Conference Championships 1962,63,64 All-Conference team
1962,63,64 Blugold MVP
1964 NAIA All-American
1964 NAIA quarterback that led the nation in passing
1964 Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce award for Outstanding Achievement and Performance
1963 and 1964 Eau Claire Athlete of the Year
1965 Free agent with the Green Bay Packers
1965 Played with the Joliet Explorers in the Professional Football League

Jim's teaching career began in 1965-66 at Elgin High School, Elgin, Illinois,. He then moved to Bloomer, Wisconsin, where he taught physical education for 31 years, from 1966-1998. He was Chairman of the Physical Education Department for 29 years. His coaching career at Bloomer High School included head varsity boys' football, 1966-1998, with a record of 188-103-2. He had seven conference championships and four undefeated seasons. In 1993 he received a 25-year service award and 150 win victor award from the WFCA.

James was also head varsity boys' basketball coach in 1966-67, with a 13-5 record. He was head varsity boys' track coach 1968-70 and had three state participants; he was head boys' varsity baseball coach from 1976-1989 with three conference championships and a 1983 state tournament team; and he was assistant varsity girls' basketball coach 1989-1993 with 2nd place state runner-up teams in 1990 and 1992.

James was a WIAA basketball official from 1966-1989, is a member of the WFCA, National Education Association, Wisconsin Education Association, Northwest United Education Association, Bloomer Volunteer Fireman, belongs to the Bloomer Masonic Lodge, is a Tripoli Shriner and is a member of St. John's Lutheran Church. Other honors include: UW-Eau Claire Blugold Hall of Fame (1977), NAIA District 14 Hall of Fame (1980); Shrine Bowl coach for north team in Appleton (1978); and Shrine Bowl coach for north team in Oshkosh (1995).

Tag(s): Hall of Fame