John Concannon, Publicity
My subject for this Splash issue Personality of the Month is Jim Poole. I met Jim for the first time at his home in Ironwood and came away in awe of one of the most diverse sportsmen I have met in Sun Lakes.
Jim was born in Nashville, TN, but early on moved with his family to San Diego, California where he spent most of his years. After playing football, baseball and basketball in high school, Jim entered San Diego State University in 1950. He continued to play basketball and baseball and earned induction into the Aztec Baseball Hall of Fame as a pitcher. Jim was also an outstanding badminton player and was crowned U.S. National Singles Champion in 1958, an honor he also earned in 1961. A few years later he was also National Badminton Doubles champion from 1964 to 1974, a record yet to be matched in the sport. While on the subject of badminton, Jim also played on the U.S. National Badminton Team that competed in locations like Singapore, Honk Kong and Djakarta, Indonesia. While participating in the Thomas Cup, volleyball’s equivalent to the Davis Cup in tennis, he was the first non-Asian to win the Malaysian Championship (1961).
After graduating from S.D. State, Jim joined the U.S. Air Force and coached basketball and baseball. While stationed at Ellington Air Force Base in Texas, Jim played on the Post volleyball team and won the Worldwide Armed Forces Volleyball Championship.
Jim started teaching high school in 1959, also coaching the basketball team for six years, leaving for New Orleans in 1966. He taught at Tulane University and earned a doctorate in Education from L.S.U. in 1970.
He taught at Cal State, Dominquez Hills (Carson, CA) for almost 25 years, the last 10 years as a department chair. That allowed Jim to schedule his time appropriately to support his secondary career as a NFL official from 1975 to 1995. Jim was selected to officiate two Super Bowls (XXI and XXVII).
Jim retired from teaching and officiating and moved with his wife Sue to Sun Lakes. This is where we bring in yet another sport that Jim participated in. He joined Cottonwood Golf Club as he considered it the most competitive course in Sun Lakes, but, when Oakwood opened its new Clubhouse, Jim joined MOGA, where he won the Club Championship in 1998 and 2000. He also won MOGA’s Super Senior Championship in 2005. Jim was also a member of the 2000 Championship team that won the Southern Arizona Division Four Ball championship.
On a personal note, Jim married Sue in 1957 and they have three children, two daughters (Kelly and Lisa) and a son (Jon), who live in the Midwest and east. We hope that Jim recovers from his recent fall and will once again be playing Ironwood.