Former NC State Track & Field Coach, Wescott, Passes Away
May 29, 2014
RALEIGH, N.C. - Former NC State track and field coach James B. Wescott, father of Olympic snowboarder Seth Wescott, died on Tuesday night. He drowned after suffering a medical event while rowing Megunticook Lake near Camden, Maine with a friend earlier that morning.
Wescott, 71, coached track and field at NC State from 1966-1978.
"He was such a good man and a good person," said Margaret Westcott, James' former wife of 23 years who was also a former dance instructor and women's intramural director at NC State. "He was always concerned about academics and who his athletes were as people. His coaching record was phenomenal, but he placed the most importance on developing the athletes off the field where it meant the most."
A native of Concord, New Hampshire, Wescott lettered in basketball and track at Plymouth (N.H.) State College, where he won conference long jump and hurdle titles.
He came to Raleigh in 1966 as a physical education instructor and assistant to then head coach Paul Derr. He served in that capacity for three years before assuming head track and field coaching duties in 1969.
After taking over the program, Wescott led a nine-year stretch that featured four NCAA appearances, a combined eight All-American awards, 13 All-ACC distinctions and an individual school-record that still stands today.
Wescott took the men's indoor team to a spot in the NCAA Championships in 1974, 1976 and 1977, while guiding the outdoor team to a berth in the NCAA Championships in 1976. Moreover, his teams finished second at the ACC Indoor Championship in 1978 and second on three separate occasions at the 1975, 1976 and 1978 ACC Outdoor Championship.
He coached and mentored four-time All-American and seven-time All-ACC honoree Bob Medlin, along with three-time All-American LeBaron Caruthers and All-American and All-ACC award winner Joe Hannah. All three individuals competed in the shot put during their storied Wolfpack careers.
Wescott also coached Jim Wilkins to a 4:00.05 mile in 1973 and Paul Buttermark to a 4:02.38 mile in 1975. Wilkins' time stood as the school record for over 40 years and currently stands as the third-best mark in NC State school history, while Buttermark holds the fourth best time.
Moreover, Wescott oversaw the careers of John Holiday (indoor shotput), Jerome Napier (400m outdoor), Al Green (100m, outdoor), Ron Foreman (400m, outdoor), Albert Lomotey (200m, outdoor), all of which earned All-ACC distinction under Wescott's guidance.
In 1977, under Wescott's watchful eye, true freshman Ron Brown set the school record in 800m dash with a time of 1:50.00. The record still stands today, some 37 years later, as the school-record in the 800m.
Following his career with NC State, Wescott assumed head coaching duties of the men's track and field and men's cross country teams at Colby College, a Division III school in Waterville, Maine, from 1978 until 2003, before retiring.
Wescott was the father of two children Seth and Sarah Wescott, who were both born in Raleigh while he was coaching at NC State. Seth Wescott, 37, who won the Olympic gold medal in snowboardcross in 2006 and 2010, currently resides in Carrabassett Valley, Maine, while Sarah Gould Wescott, 41, currently resides in San Rafael, Ca. with her husband and works as a somatic psychologist.