Induction Year: 2011
Inducted as a recipient of the Mertz Mortorelli Coaching Achievement Award
A former football player and wrestler at UW-Superior, Jim Stephenson made a mark as a longtime educator and coach at Waunakee (Wis.) High School. His accomplishments, not just in Waunakee but in other stops around the United States, have made Mr. Stephenson a 2011 recipient of the Mertz Mortorelli Coaching Achievement Award.
After one year in Arizona with the United State Bureau of Indian Affairs, Mr. Stephenson returned to Wisconsin and began a 33-year career as an educator and coach. In Waunakee, he was a biology teacher and the head high school wrestling coach, made responsible for building a program from its infancy.And build a program he did.
Mr. Stephenson guided the Waunakee wrestlers for 30 years, winning five conference championships and 237 matches along the way.Individually, his wrestlers won 43 conference championships, 57 regional championships and 17 sectional championships. Two of them were crowned state champions.
On the academic side, Mr. Stephenson served as the head of the science department in Waunakee from 1968 to 1972 and in 1972 developed an ecology curriculum. In 1968 he developed a summer science enrichment program for Waunakee Community Schools that is still offered each summer. From 1988 to 1993 he was the environmental education coordinator. Mr. Stephenson retired from coaching in 1996, and from teaching in 1999.
In addition, Mr. Stephenson was instrumental in the creation of the George Martin Wrestling Hall of Fame in Wisconsin, to which he was inducted in 2002. Ironically, Mertz Mortorelli, whom Mr. Stephenson cites as a major influence personally and professionally, was part of the inaugural induction class at George Martin in 1973.