LEXINGTON, Va. -- Jim Phemister will be stepping down from his roles as Washington and Lee's head women's cross country and assistant women's track coach, announced Director of Athletics Michael F. Walsh. Phemister, a law professor, is resigning his post to devote more time to his teaching responsibilities.
"Our athletes have benefited greatly from Jim's coaching style, personality and commitment to them as students and athletes," said Walsh. "We've been fortunate to be able to blend a full-time academic professor into our coaching ranks, and Jim has been an outstanding addition to our department."
Phemister joined the W&L faculty in 1974 and earned the rank of professor in 1983. He began his association with the athletic department in 1985 as an assistant coach for the women's cross country team, the first female team to compete for W&L following coeducation.
In 1987 Phemister became the head coach of the program, and over his 11 seasons as head coach the Generals won five Old Dominion Athletic Conference titles and finished as the runner-up at the NCAA Division III South Regional twice. Phemister also helped his runners earn All-America honors four times and All-South honors 12 times. He was named the ODAC Coach of the Year six times. Phemister has also served as the distance coach for the women's track team since 1993 where he had an All-American in the 10,0000 meter run and national qualifiers in the 3,000 and 5,000 meter runs.
"I'm going to miss the contact with the kids," said Phemister. "I've learned a lot from my runners and the people in the department. It's been an extremely positive experience."
Phemister is a 1966 graduate of Purdue University. He earned a juris doctor degree from Northwestern University in 1969. He and his wife, Carol, are the parents of two grown children, Sarah and David.
Walsh said that a search for Phemister's successor would begin in the immediate future.