George F. James

Class of 1951 / Inducted 1972 - Charter Member / Football

George F. “Jesse” James was a native of Wythe County, Virginia. The Emory & Henry Sports Hall of Fame inductee was a dual-sport athlete who was selected for his accomplishments on the Wasps football squad in the mid-20th Century.

James was a four-year letterman on the football team who helped the Wasps to Burley and Tangerine Bowls appearances in 1950-51.

James also earned two letters in baseball as a pitcher. He notably threw a no-hitter against Lincoln Memorial University. He continued his baseball career in the Appalachian League, winning 23 games as a pitcher in Kingsport, Tennessee. In 1951 he won 14 of 18 games with the Wytheville Statesmen.

From 1960-63, James served as a district manager of State Farm Insurance Company in Philadelphia before founding the James Insurance Agency in Wytheville in July of 1963. James is a past winner of the Aetna Casualty and Surety Professional Society of Insurance Agents award. He was also involved in a variety of civic activities, serving as vice-chairman of the Welfare Board and president of the Young Democrats Club.

The annual Jesse James Golf Tournament was established in James’ honor by his friends. The golf tournament, now known as the Blue & Gold Golf Tournament, serves as a fundraiser for the Tangerine Bowl Memorial Endowment, which provides funding for the Wasps football team.

George F. James died at the age of 65 on March 14, 1992.