THE FLATS – Georgia Tech athletics mourns the loss of Jim Culpepper, the first head coach in Georgia Tech women’s basketball history, who passed away on Wednesday. He was 82.
Born in Vardaman, Miss., Culpepper was a pioneer in Georgia Tech women’s athletics. Most notably, he served as the Institute’s first varsity women’s basketball head coach from 1974-80 and compiled 70 wins as the Yellow Jackets’ head coach, including records of 19-8 (1976-77), 23-4 (1977-78), and 18-8 (1978-79). The Jackets’ .852 winning percentage in 1977-78 remains a Georgia Tech women’s basketball single-season record and their 23 wins are still tied for the third-most in single-season program history.
In addition to being the first head coach in Tech women’s basketball history, he also helped start the Yellow Jackets’ women’s volleyball, tennis and softball programs in the coming years. Additionally, he served as the first full-time director of intramural activities during his 12 years at the Institute.
In all, Culpepper spent over 45 years in education as a full-time staff member and volunteer.
Following his retirement from education, Culpepper continued his life in athletics, competing in Masters/Senior Track and Field. Earning over 200 medals in his Senior Olympics career, Culpepper won state championships in the shot put, discus throw, javelin throw, hammer throw, long jump, triple jump and 50-meter dash. He earned all-American honors in the discus throw and was awarded the Sportsmanship Award by the Georgia Golden Olympics.
Culpepper earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mississippi State University. A Dean’s List student, he also studied at the University of Georgia, the University of Tennessee and the University of Florida. He competed in football, basketball and track in high school and college.
He is survived by his wife, Patsy, four children, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m. in the M.G. Frazier Memorial Chapel at Frazier & Son Funeral Home in Rochelle,Ga. A visitation will be held prior to the service at 1 p.m.
The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.