Class of 2012
A 1964 graduate of Centralia High School, Jim Dunn participated in football, basketball and baseball. He continued playing baseball at Centralia Junior College and for one year at Eastern Illinois University. While at Eastern, Jim became friends with several members of the EIU wrestling team. Through these friendships, Jim’s interest in wrestling grew. This new interest grew further during his student teaching at Lawrenceville High School. This is where Jim met IWCOA Hal of Fame Member Bob Strange, who became his mentor and friend.
In 1969, Jim began his teaching and coaching career at St. Francisville High School. He had six academic preparations and coached all sports. In 1974, St. Francisville consolidated with Lawrenceville High School. Jim joined the Lawrenceville High School staff as a Physical Education/Drivers Education/History teacher and became the assistant wrestling coach under Don Myers. Two years later he took over the head coaching duties. He served in that position until 1997, when he became the Athletic Director and Dean of Students at Lawrenceville. He continued in that position until his retirement in 2006.
During Jim’s tenure at Lawrenceville he produced 150 individual sectional qualifiers, 62 individual state qualifiers and 9 individual state place-winners. His teams won nine sectional team championships, 13 regional team championships and 16 conference titles. He had three teams qualify for the Dual Team State Tournament with one team placing 3rd in 1984 and another placing 4th in 1985. He also started the Lawrence County Tournament in 1976. His teams compiled a 337-79-3 record in his 21 years as head coach.
Jim wrote a booklet on the early history of Lawrenceville High School Wrestling (1939-1980). He served on the Lawrence County board for 20 years and was chairman of the finance committee. He is a member of the Illinois High School & College Drivers Education Association, Illinois Dean of Students Association and Illinois Southeastern Officials Association.
In addition to wrestling, Jim was a track coach. Between St. Francisville and Lawrenceville High Schools, he compiled a 102-66 record with 15 state qualifiers and 10 place winners. Beyond the school walls, Jim has been involved in teaching and coaching youth programs since he was in high school. He also has coached summer league baseball, softball, and youth football.
With the help of Terry Hoke, Jim organized the Lawrenceville Youth Wrestling Program in the late 1970’s, which is still very successful. He was president of the youth program for four years. But Jim hasn’t quit, yet—he is coaching wrestling at LHS as an assistant to coach Tom Tewell.
Jim lives in rural St. Francisville with his wife of 42 years, Barbara. They have three grown daughters, five grandsons and two granddaughters.