Class of 2023
Jim Raabe’s wrestling career started at Willowbrook high school in Villa Park and proceeded to Western Illinois University where he wrestled for four years. At WIU he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education in 1978, which led to a 36 years-Teaching. He also accumulated 41 years of officiating and 44 years of coaching.
Jim started his teaching/coaching at Providence Catholic High School with IWCOA Hall of Fame Coach Tim Ruettiger. Tim served as his mentor, both as a teacher and a wrestling coach. Jim also served as Tim’s assistant varsity coach and Providence placed 2nd in state that same year.
After marrying Barbara Shoup (41 years and counting), Jim moved to Hamilton high school to begin his head coaching experience. Starting with only 4 wrestlers his first year, by the end of year five his teams had won two IHSA Regional titles and boasted 15 state qualifiers, 8 state place winners, and 1 state champion. During those five years at Hamilton, he also earned a Master’s degree in Physical Education, became a USA certified silver level coach, started an IKWF club, officiated freestyle and greco including the honor of being the judge official for Barry Davis’ Olympic challenge ladder match in Fort Madison, Iowa.
After Hamilton, Jim became the wrestling coach at MacMurray College for three years where he coached 2 National Qualifiers with 1 earning All-American status. It had been 11 years since MacMurray’s last AllAmerican wrestler and unfortunately for their program their last All-American. With the birth of his son James in 1987, Jim moved to the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired (ISVI) where he taught Physical Education and coached wrestling for 26 years, mentoring 1 state qualifier. Also, during his time at the ISVI Jim managed to earn his license for teacher of the blind and visually impaired, coached boys track and boys swimming, and was athletic director for 26 years. He is the reason that Goalball (a blind sport) became a North Central Association of Schools for the Blind (NCASB) conference sport and coached the sport for 10 years.
Jim was also past president of the NCASB and past president of the Western District Illinois Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (IAHPERD).
Upon retirement from ISVI, Jim served as a volunteer wrestling coach for the restarted MacMurray College men’s and women’s programs while also working on a committee to create an IHSA girls state wrestling tournament, which lead to an official presentation to the IHSA, which was ultimately successfully completed by the IWCOA.
Presently, Jim serves as an assistant wrestling coach for both the men’s and women’s programs at Augustana College under the direction of Head Coach Tony Willaert.
Jim served the on the IHSA wrestling advisory committee, AD Hoc wrestling weight control committee, IHSA cross-country & track advisory committee, and IHSA students with disabilities advisory committee.
Jim’s honors include the:
• IWCOA “Friend of Wrestling” award in 1989;
• IADA Class 1A & 2A Athletic Director of the Year award 2009;
• the IWCOA“Lifetime Service to Wrestling” award in 2022;
• and the National Hall of Fame-Illinois Chapter, Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award in 2022.