Jim O. McKinley
Jim was born in Ashland County and grew up in the Jeromesville area. When he was 13 years old, he started playing baseball in Wooster. In 1952, he was the batting champion with an average of .578. That year his team was state runner up. In 1953, he batted .470 and was voted the most valuable player for the league. In 1954, he was an undefeated pitcher for the state champions in the hot stove league, 15 to 18 years olds. Jim averaged better than two strikeouts per inning.
Jim attended Jeromesville High School and is one of the few, if not the only, 16-letter person to graduate. During his football career, Jim was voted to the all-county team all four years of school. In 1956 he was voted to the all-star team and chosen by the Ashland Times Gazette as the most outstanding football player in Ashland County. He was part of the team that won 17 games straight. In basketball, he was voted to second team all county his freshman season. In the 56-57 year he was picked by the coaches as Ashland County’s most valuable player. Jeromesville’s highest scorer, he scored 249 points with a 16.6 points per game average. In baseball, he was on two county champion teams. They won years of dual meets and was never beaten. In 1957 he qualified for the state in the mile run. Jim was picked in 1957 as Ashland County’s finest all around athlete. He received 33 of 35 votes from the area coaches. He also received the title of “Gentleman.”
Jim then started at Mt. Union College, transferring to Ashland College the same year. He was a winning pitcher for the next three years. Jim’s record for one year was 6-4 with 64 strikeouts. His next year was 9-4, with two wins coming in one day. Jim’s senior year at Ashland College was a winning year cut short with an elbow injury, ending any chance of a career in baseball. After graduating from Ashland College with a B.S. degree in Education he went first to Jeromesville as teacher and a coach of junior high basketball. He earned his master’s degree from the University of West Virginia during the summer months. He continued at Hillsdale High School until 1969. Jim then went to Wayne County Career Center as the C.O.E. Coordinator. In 1971 he became the assistant director of the Wayne County Career Center. In 1973 he became the B.O.E Supervisor. In 1974 Jim came to Ashland County as the principal and vocational director at the Ashland County J.V.S In 1980 he became the superintendent at that school. In 1989 he changed to superintendent of Hillsdale High School. He retired in 1992. At present he is back working with children as the secondary supervisor at the Wayne County public schools.
Jim also coached the girls summer softball program from 1971 to 1981, with his girls both playing on state championship teams.
Jim is married to Wilma and they have two girls and five grandchildren. They have lived their entire lives in the Jeromesville are. Golf is Jim’s hobby and he has won a number of tournaments through the years.
We can sum up Jim’s life by the plaque hanging on their kitchen wall –“Service—Man’s Highest Calling.”