Elon mourns passing of sports historian Jim Waggoner '55

The Elon graduate authored "The Fighting Christians: Elon College Athletics Through the Years" in 1989 after compiling sports data for half a century on every student athlete to wear maroon and gold.

Longtime Elon friend and sports historian Rev. James (Jim) M. Waggoner passed away Dec. 14 at the age of 81.

A service of death and resurrection will be held on Sunday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Raleigh. Visitation with the family will be held from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20, at St. Mark’s UMC.
Waggoner was inducted into the Elon Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. A 1955 Elon graduate, Waggoner served the Maroon and Gold, the school’s award-winning bi-weekly newspaper, as its editor-in-chief for two years. He went on to collect Elon sports data for half of a century, compiling photographs, files, memorabilia and records on all sports and every student-athlete to ever wear the Maroon and Gold.

Waggoner went on to publish his book, “The Fighting Christians: Elon College Athletics Through the Years,” in 1989. A collection of his Elon sports memorabilia has since become the Elon Department of Athletics Archive Room.
A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Waggoner was a retired United Methodist minister. Waggoner retired as the chief of chaplaincy and advocacy services for the North Carolina Division of Youth Services (now the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention) in Raleigh after 20 years of service in 1998. Waggoner is survived by his wife, Margaret, and children, James, Robert and Barbra.
Over the years, he worked as an assistant pastor and the director of youth and music at Calvary Baptist Church (1953-55), a sixth grade teacher at Elon College Elementary School (1955), an English teacher at Elon College High School (1956-57), the director of Christian education at Davis St. Methodist Church (1956-57) in Burlington, a pastor at Concord Methodist Church (1957-1961), Clover Garden Methodist Church (1957-1961), Orange Chapel Methodist Church (1957-1961), Trinity Methodist Church (1961-65) and Asbury and Whitley Memorial Churches (1965-68), a chaplain at Methodist Home for Children (1968-1975) and Industrial Chaplain (1975-77).
Waggoner amassed a long list of accolades during his career, including the American Legion Citizen Award, Harvard Book Prize, Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities, Belhaven Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen Award, Trailblazer in Scouting Award, Disciple of Joy Award, North Carolina Division of Youth Services Employee of the Year, Elon Fighting Christian Distinguished Service Award, Elon Honorary Letter “E” Award, Who’s Who in Religion, Who’s Who in the Methodist Church, Dictionary of International Biography, Who’s Who in the South and Southwest, Personalities of the South, Who’s Who in Community Service and Community Leaders of America honors.