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Former PJC athletic director and women’s basketball coach Don Wilhelm will be inducted into the Paris Junior College athletic hall of fame on Saturday, Nov. 3, during the school’s 88th Homecoming.
The ceremony will take place at halftime of the 4 p.m. women’s basketball game against Murray State College.
Wilhelm was athletic director, women’s basketball coach and chair of the division of kinesiology at PJC from 1986 to 1994. The annually awarded PJC women’s basketball Most Valuable Player Cup is named in his honor.
“I enjoyed my association with the coaches, student-athletes, faculty, administration, Greater Paris Rotary Club and the Paris community,” said Wilhelm, when notified of the honor.
“My secretary, Stephanie Booker, was outstanding, a real jewel as she kept us organized. I have great admiration for your college president, Dr. Pam Anglin. We worked together for several years [at Blinn].”
“We look forward to honoring Don Wilhelm and adding him to our PJC Athletic Hall of Fame,” Dr. Anglin said.
“Don Wilhelm did so much for the Paris Junior College athletic program and much of what is in place today began with him. I was fortunate to be able to work with him at another institution and saw firsthand the difference he makes in a program. I learned a lot by working with him and seeing how he managed an athletic program,” she added.
“I have only known Coach Wilhelm for a short time, but in that short time he has made such an impact on me,” PJC Athletic Director and Women’s Basketball Coach Sean LeBeauf said.
“Coach Wilhelm went above and beyond for me when he did not know me. I can gather from what I have heard, and witnessed for myself, that he did those same things for student-athletes, faculty and staff here at PJC. He deserves this recognition.”
Wilhelm coined two favorite phrases: “You play the game with your hands and feet, but you win the game with your head and heart” in 1976, and “Earn your Ph.D. every day: Pride, Honor and Dedication” in 1990.
Wilhelm served as president of the Greater Paris Rotary Club from 1992-93, a year that saw the club featured in Rotarian Magazine for its outstanding service project with a sister Rotary Club in Oaxaca, Mexico, in providing medical equipment and supplies to a community medical facility. He is a three-time Paul Harris Fellow for the Rotary Club.
He helped merge the Texas Junior College Athletic Conference and the Texas Eastern Athletic Conference into what is now NJCAA’s Region XIV Conference. He also initiated PJC’s Bobby R. Walters Cup, an outstanding academic athletic award to the sophomore student-athlete with the highest grade point average at PJC.
After PJC, Wilhelm was director of athletics and chaired the division of health and kinesiology at Blinn College in Brenham. While there, he served as men’s director and secretary-treasurer of the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) Region 14.
He also chaired the NJCAA Football Committee and was a member of the NJCAA Division I basketball committee, eligibility committee and executive committee.
Before PJC, Wilhelm had an extensive background in both men’s and women’s basketball. He came to PJC from Stephen F. Austin University, where he served first as assistant and then head women’s basketball coach. Before that he was head men’s basketball coach at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan.
Wilhelm also was:
Inducted into the Blinn College Hall of Honor in 2011, Wilhelm was presented the Buccaneer Alumni Lettermen Association Ph.D. Award (Pride, Honor, Dedication) in 2010. Blinn also named its women’s basketball MVP award after him. He is in the NJCAA Football Hall of Fame and received the Wayne Rideout Athletic Training Award.
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