COSTA MESA -- Orange Coast College will hold a ceremony renaming the OCC Track and Field Complex after longtime coach, administrator and Pirate Hall of Famer Jim McIlwain on Friday at 10:45 a.m. at the 2019 Coast Classic Invitational.
"I will always remember the joy I experienced coaching so many wonderful athletes over the years," McIlwain says. "For 40 years I was fortunate to have the support and friendship of the people of Orange Coast College and the Coast Community College District. I cannot think of a better place to have spent my professional career."
McIlwain's accomplishments at Coast span the entire campus. After one season as an assistant coach, McIlwain coached the Pirates' cross country teams for 10 seasons and track and field for 12.
A true pioneer to the sport, McIlwain was one of the first coaches to involve women in cross country and track on campus, and because of that, OCC was the first among all 109 community colleges in the state to establish a women's cross-country program. The Pirates were the second school to create a women's track and field team.
"Maybe it's because we were among the first to establish women's teams, but our women's programs on this campus – in all sports – have consistently been among the best in the state. I'm proud of that," McIlwain said in a 2005 Orange Slices article.
After taking a sabbatical in 1977, McIlwain started OCC's Exercise Science and Sports Medicine laboratories. He also was the founder of the Southwest Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine and, in 1984, he was selected as the Coast Community College District's Innovator of the Year for the work he displayed in establishing OCC's nationally recognized Sports Medicine Center.
In 1987, McIlwain was named OCC's Athletic Director and Dean of Health and Physical Education Division, positions he held for four years. From 1991–2004 McIlwain served as the Vice President of Administrative Services. In December of 1995, he was named Interim President following the retirement of President David A. Grant. He remained president of the College until July of 1996, when Margaret Gratton took over the position.
After four decades of dedicated service, McIlwain was inducted into the OCC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.