Former Calaveras High School wrestling coach Jim Bennett died on April 15 in McMinnville, Ore. He was 89 years old.
Aside from helping grow the Calaveras wrestling program into the powerhouse it currently is, Bennett was heavily involved in starting youth wrestling in Calaveras County. In 1973, Bennett helped found and was head coach for the Calaveras Youth Wrestling Club. Youth wrestlers still compete in the annual Jim Bennett Classic.
“He was a great man and touched many lives,” former Calaveras head wrestling coach Vince Bicocca said. “He was a disciplinarian and expected a lot from his wrestlers, both youth and high school, but the kids responded well to him with love and respect. His youth teams were always very successful. They were well conditioned and well coached. I don’t know anyone who had more control of a youth wrestling practice, filled with 5- to 12-year-olds, than Jim. He will be missed by many.”