Wesley Mourns Loss of Coaching Great Jim Wentworth

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Wesley Mourns Loss of Coaching Great Jim Wentworth

On Wednesday, December 14, 2016 Wesley College lost a legend as former Head Coach and Wesley College Athletics Hall of Famer Jim Wentworth passed away.

Jim Wentworth was the Wolverines' head men's basketball coach for 41 years. The 1959 graduate of Pfieffer College (N.C.) compiled 502 wins and 465 losses after taking over in 1961.  In 1997-98, he guided the Wolverines to a record of 16-8, earning their first regional ranking since joining NCAA Division III in 1986. Wesley captured the ESAC title in 1987 and the ESAC Southern Division crown in 1988 under Wentworth's guidance. He also coached the Wolverines to a 394-225 mark during the school's junior college era. 

Coach Wentworth also served as Wesley's Director of Athletics and he was a tenured professor in the college's Physical Education Department. Due to their significant contributions to Wesley College, the school's gymnasium bears the name of he and his first wife Shirley. Wentworth's son Chris graduated from Wesley in 1994 and followed in his father's footsteps as head basketball coach.

One of his former athletes, Brad Benson ’62, shared his sentiments. “To all, but particularly his first team in 1961-62, he exemplified the standard of maturity, competition and hard-work that we then took beyond Wesley in our military, business and personal lives.  He was our mentor, in spite of being less than five years our senior in age. The fact that over half a century later, many of us still point to Jim Wentworth as our most significant non-family role-model is noteworthy.  We mourn his loss but cheer our good fortune to have experienced his leadership, faith and good will,"  Benson said.

Wesley College Athletic Director Mike Drass expressed, "We are saddened to hear of the passing of Coach Wentworth. He meant so much to so many students, staff, and faculty at Wesley. His legacy lives on through the lives that he touched."

"Today our Wesley College family lost an icon and legend with the passing of Coach Jim Wentworth," said President Robert E. Clark II. "Coach will be deeply missed, but his legacy of excellence will live on in each and every one of us. He is amongst the angels and I am confident that Heaven is draped in Wesley Blue & White."

View the full obituary.

At the family's request, expressions of sympathy may be to Wesley College Scholarship Fund or to Hosparus of Green River. Memorial gifts payable to Wesley College (in memory of Jim Wentworth noted) can be mailed to Office of Institutional Advancement, 120 N. State Street, Dover, DE 19901.

Photos in memory of Coach Wentworth can be viewed here.