‘Outstanding Wrestler’ pins down outstanding life

Jim Magee Steinert Athletic Hall

Jim Magee will be inducted into SHS Athletic Hall of Fame in April

By Mary Ann Tarr

HAMILTON — It’s just not in his nature to back down from a challenge without giving it his best effort. He’s not afraid to be the center of attention, either.

This is part of what makes Jim Magee a successful competitor.

He has achieved national recognition in a variety of areas, but it is for his standout three-year career as a wrestler that Magee will be inducted into the Steinert High School Athletic Hall of Fame during ceremonies April 13 at The Stone Terrace By John Henry’s on Kuser Road in Hamilton.

Former Steinert wrestling coach Brian Cassidy credited Magee’s determination and dedication as reasons for his winning ways as a Spartan. His coach also noted the strength and concentration and his ever-improving confidence levels that helped Magee go 56-12 while achieving statewide recognition.

Jim is flanked by former SHS coaches Brian Cassidy and Ron Nicklow.

Magee says it’s only natural that he gravitated toward the sport of wrestling during his high school years. As a youth, he practiced the Japanese martial art of judo, which he fondly describes as “a form of grappling wearing the Gi or judo uniform.” After winning the Pennsylvania judo state championship, Jim went on to capture the east coast and national judo championships as a purple belt.     

“I grew up in a tough neighborhood,” said Magee, who transferred into Steinert from Delhaas High School (Bristol, Pa.) as a sophomore.

He used some of the lessons learned in his youth to develop the grit needed to excel in judo and wrestling. “It’s 1-on-1 and you are basically in the spotlight by yourself,” said Magee, who earned three varsity letters in wrestling and one in football at SHS.

His outstanding career at Steinert included winning two Mercer County championships, being named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament, as well two district championships and placing third in the region.

He made an immediate impact, starting on the varsity squad at the 122-pound weight class as a sophomore. During his junior year, Jim took third place in the county tournament and captured first place in the District 24 tournament.

As a senior, Jim finished the wrestling season with a record of 23-2, winning the Mercer County Tournament and being named the outstanding wrestler and then going on to win District 24 tournament. He placed third in the Region 8 tournament, losing to returning state champion Kevin Jacoutot of Madison Central.

He was still connected to wrestling after high school as he became a coach at the youth level for Team TNT Wrestling, a national travel team. He then went on to help at Nottingham High, where his son Josh had a brilliant career, including a school-record winning streak.

Jim Magee and his son Josh.

He didn’t coax his son into the sport, but Magee was glad that Josh got to experience life as a wrestler.

“I wanted to teach him to do things the right way,” Magee said. “You have to have the hunger. I wanted him to see that aspect of life (a strong work ethic).”

In addition to his son, Jim also has a daughter, Sam, who also is a successful Nottingham High graduate and is now matriculating at Rutgers.

Jim Magee’s hunger and quest for success has helped him as a business owner in the township for more than 30 years.

Jim Magee during a Jet Ski competition.

His drive has also produced championships in yet another arena – Magee has been successful in the world of Jet Ski competition where he has excelled on the national stage.

Although he played just one season of football at SHS, Magee made his mark there, too.

Jim was a defensive lineman in football despite weighing 145 pounds. Dave McWilliam, a former SHS football coach, had a defense formation named after him called “4-3 Magee in the Gap.” His job was to attack the ball, and from all reports, he did that very well.

“There are a lot of big memories from Steinert,” Magee said.

Many, of course, come from sports, especially wrestling. “Beating Hightstown, a huge rival for us, was important. Getting eight (SHS) guys in the Counties was a huge accomplishment,” he said.

Every step of the way, this SHS Class of 1982 graduate helped the Spartans to keep moving forward.

Additional info about the Steinert Athletic Hall of Fame, including how to purchase tickets for the dinner, can be found at steinertathletichof.com and on the group’s Facebook page.

About The Author

(Don’t feel old enough to be, but I am) a veteran journalist. In no particular order, lover of words, sports, music, dogs, community. Share that love with understanding and kind husband. Appreciate value of parks and recreation. Odd selection of favorite sports teams: Miami Dolphins, Boston Celtics, NY Mets, Philadelphia Flyers. Picked up other Philly (!) sports teams via marriage. Avid recycler.