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WEEMS, J. EDDIE, SR.

WEEMS, J. EDDIE, SR. (1896–1976). J. Eddie Weems, English professor and a minister in the Church of Christ who started the track and field program at Abilene Christian College, was born to William Edward and Rhetta (Smith) Weems on November 13, 1896, in Stringtown, Bell County, Texas. After graduation from Temple High School in 1918, he received bachelor and master of arts degrees in history from Texas Christian University, where he competed in half-mile and mile runs, losing only twice in four years. He taught and coached one year, in 1924, at Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth. He then moved to Abilene Christian College at the request of the athletic director to inaugurate a track program on a truly small scale. A member of Weems's first team was the son of a Taylor county commissioner, who was prevailed upon to lend his road grader to cut out a measured quarter-mile dirt track on a vacant lot near the campus. From 1928 on, Weems's teams won eight consecutive championships in the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and his relay teams won consistently at the Drake and Texas relays. In 1937 Weems became the first track coach at Pepperdine College in California, where he also taught English during 1937–42 and 1946–50. During World War II he coached Austin High School to a state championship in 1943 and at the same time taught English at the University of Texas. Later he coached and taught at TCU from 1956 to 1961. Weems also preached for small Church of Christ congregations unable to pay for a full-time minister. He married Anna Lee Scott, a graduate student in music he had met at TCU, on December 23, 1923, and they had one son. On July 11, 1976, he and his wife were killed in an automobile accident while en route from their residence in Temple to Upton, Texas. In 1982 he was posthumously installed in Pepperdine University's Athletic Hall of Fame.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Who's Who in the South and Southwest (Vol. 6). Who's Who in the West (Vol. 1).
John Edward Weems

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Handbook of Texas Online, John Edward Weems, "Weems, J. Eddie, Sr.," accessed July 27, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fwe53.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.