1999 ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
James V. Rota of Silver Spring, Md., coached the George Washington University wrestling teams for more than a decade (1977-89) and took a program from its developmental stages to one which was respected for producing both high caliber Division I wrestlers and quality student-athletes.
In the last seven seasons at the GW helm, Rota had at least one wrestler per season ranked in the Top 15 nationally in a respective weight class. All-America Wade Hughes, who finished third at 126 pounds in the 1985 NCAA Championships, was one of six GW wrestlers to qualify for national tournament competition and he was one of six to notch more than 100 career victories. In 12 years as head coach of the Colonials, his dual meet record was 123-121-5.
Backbone of the Colonials mat program was Rota! A former collegiate wrestler at Frostburg (Md.) State, where he lettered all four years, Rota captained the Bobcats for three seasons and earned the team's "outstanding wrestler" award as a junior. He also lettered three times in golf, served as captain of that team as a senior and later served as GW's golf coach for two seasons.
Rota, who earned a master's degree in education at Temple in 1968, also is an area graduate of Northwood High School. He has continued his active involvement in wrestling as a high school and college official. He is past president of the Washington Metropolitan Wrestling Association and has officiated the Maryland High School Wrestling Championships and the NCAA Eastern Regionals as well as NCAA Championships in 1978. Rota and his wife, Jane, have three daughters: Jennifer, Allison and Emily.