|Year:||Class of 2013|
|Sport:||Football, Cross Country, Wrestling, Tennis & Judo|
Jim McGowan began studying martial arts as a 12-year-old, winning his first national judo championship two years later. At Tamalpais High School, he was a member of the 1952 Basketball League Championship Team and the 1953 Football Northern California All League for which he played guard or tackle.
He was a judo champion in the U.S. Marines Corps in 1955, as well, and was selected to train in Japan at the Kodokan Judo Institute. He became a third-degree black belt in judo and a first-degree black belt in jiu-jitsu.
Jim first came to College of Marin in 1956 and helped the football team win the Golden Valley Conference Championship. Coach Pieper was strict but he encouraged the older students like McGowan and several others who were in college after military service, to mentor younger players. A linebacker and guard, he was named All Conference that year.
He went on to San Francisco State where he was named All-Conference in wrestling and joined the San Francisco Olympic Club from 1959 to 1965 where he was part of another National Championship team and was a three time National Medal winner in both freestyle and Greco wrestling.
A graduate of, McGowan earned an associate’s degree from College of Marin and a bachelor’s degree in Education with a major in History from San Francisco State. He also earned a master’s degree in Physical Education from SF State.
In 1963, he returned to COM to teach, initially bringing his own wrestling mat to get a new program off the ground. He continued at COM, teaching health education, wrestling, cross country, football, tennis and judo until 1997 when he began to work part-time running the fitness lab until 2007.
Over the years, McGowan has volunteered at numerous programs for training programs for youth. He also helped get the Tamalpa running club off the ground, one of the most successful clubs in the nation.