Jim Garrison is ‘Mr. Chowan’

Published 8:58 pm Monday, September 15, 2008

The world would be such a better place to live if there were more men like James Gardner “Jim” Garrison.

On Saturday night, Chowan University paid tribute to Garrison, who by even the most minimum standards is a legendary figure in the world of athletics.

That legend of a man has given Chowan University 50 years of loyal and dedicated service. Fifty years, one-half of one full century, at one institution is unheard of across America.

Garrison’s name ranks with the likes of three other legendary football mentors – Penn State’s Joe Paterno (at Penn State since 1950), Eddie Robinson (who spent 56 years at Grambling State) and John Gagliardi, the head coach at NCAA Division III St. Johns University in Minnesota since 1954.

All those men, including Garrison, have taken young boys and turned them into men. That fact isn’t just confined to the football field as those fresh-faced youngsters learned a lot about life in the process.

Such is the case for Jim Garrison. He wasn’t only an outstanding football coach, but a mentor, a counselor and a father figure all rolled into one.

While many would relate athletic success to the number of victories gained in battle, Jim Garrison’s legacy runs much deeper. He is, without a doubt, the one person whose name is synonymous with Chowan University. He is that institution’s flag bearer; their ambassador.

For 50 years, he has poured his heart and his soul into Chowan University and the school, as well as the people he touched along the way whether they are athletes or not, are all better for that interaction with this giant of a man. And he continues to this day to sing the praises of the school.

The accolades bestowed upon Garrison on Saturday night are well-earned and much deserved. We offered our congratulations as well to “Mr. Chowan.”