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On Nov. 3, no more fitting place existed than center court of Paris Junior College’s Hunt Center to induct former PJC Athletic Director and Women’s Basketball Coach Don Wilhelm into the PJC Athletic Hall of Fame. The ceremony took place during half-time of the Lady Dragons basketball game.
On Nov. 3, no more fitting place existed than center court of Paris Junior College’s Hunt Center during half-time of the Lady Dragons basketball game to induct former PJC Athletic Director and Women’s Basketball Coach Don Wilhelm into the PJC Athletic Hall of Fame.
Wilhelm received his honor from PJC President Dr. Pamela Anglin and PJC Athletic Director Sean LeBeauf before a crowd of basketball fans.
“It was a privilege to induct him,” said LeBeauf. “PJC is a great place for a reason – because great people like Don Wilhelm walk through its doors. I was humbled to honor such a great man who gave so much of himself for other people and I always tell my kids when you give of yourself to others, that is when the blessings come. Saturday Coach Wilhelm was blessed.’
After receiving his honors, Wilhelm explained a little history to the fans. PJC’s mascot had long been a dragon but a nameless one. A contest was held and the mother of one of his players came up with the name “Pyro” and won the contest. Wilhelm also introduced some of his former players who attended the ceremony and reminisced about his time at PJC.
One former Lady Dragon who played for Coach Wilhelm is Jackie Mitchell, now an Educational Opportunity Center Advisor at PJC.
“I was really elated at his being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Mitchell said. “He was more than a coach, he was a father figure for me and I remember him coming to my games as early as eighth grade. When we went to regionals and Austin, he would make those games. It was a blessing to see him again. When I graduated I sent him a note telling him I didn’t want a gift, I just wanted him to know I finished. Without him, and the opportunity and exposure, I would not be doing what I’m doing right now. He’s a good coach and good person, all around. Now that I’m older I appreciate the effort he took to come to those games. It’s awesome to me that he could do that and recruit all the other fabulous players he had over the years.”
The Dragon Athletic Hall of Fame includes many of those who contributed to the success of the PJC athletic program. The Hall of Fame, established during Homecoming activities in the fall of 1990 by Wilhelm, is located in the Harold E. Hunt Physical Education Center and features photographs, certificates, and memorabilia of players, teams, coaches and other contributors throughout the history of Paris Junior College.