Athlete. Official. Coach. Team Leader. Now Jack Harcourt can add the title of Executive Director to the list of positions held during his career in wrestling. Longtime Virginia wrestling coach Jack Harcourt has been hired as the Executive Director for the Virginia Wrestling Association (VAWA).
“Jack has done it all when it comes to wrestling,” VAWA State Chairman Bill Swink said about Harcourt. “He has been a coach, official, tournament director, and administrator. He brings the skills and knowledge base necessary for our organization to continue to grow wrestling in Virginia. The Executive Committee is very excited to bring Jack on board to manage our organization and help us continue to improve the opportunities for wrestlers and wrestling in general in Virginia.”
He began his journey in the sport in 8th grade in 1964 at Norview HS in Norfolk, VA, beginning a lifelong love of wrestling. Harcourt competed through High School and as a freshman at Old Dominion University. After a stint in the Marine Corp Reserve, Jack returned to the mat as an official working at all levels of the sport: youth to college. In 1973, Jack began his teaching and coaching career, mixing in officiating from time to time. In 1982, He reached out to the fledgling United States Wrestling Federation, known today as USA Wrestling, to find out how he could bring the organization to Virginia. In 1983, he founded the Virginia Wrestling Federation, later changing the name to Virginia USA Wrestling to reflect USA Wrestling’s national governing body status for wrestling, and now known as the Virginia Wrestling Association (VAWA). Jack was often seen officiating Greco and Freestyle in local and national events, along with organizing teams to compete in national events. In 1987 he was named the USA Wrestling National State Chairman of the Year and was one of the freestyle coaches for the US team that competed in the Cadet World Championships in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada.
Jack earned the first USA Wrestling Gold Coaching Certificate in 1991. During the late 1980s through mid 1990’s, he had the opportunity to coach at several USOC Sports Festivals and several USAW Cadet World Teams. From 1992-94 he served as the Virginia State Rules Interpreter for the National Federation of High Schools. In 2011 Harcourt was recognized as a Lifetime Member of the National Hall of Fame- Virginia Chapter for his service to the sport of wrestling.
“I am extremely honored and excited to be selected as the VAWA Executive Director,” said Harcourt. “I feel like I have come full circle with Virginia USA wrestling since 1983, and am looking forward to being involved in such an important leadership capacity. I want all of our Virginia USAW members to know, that I am here to help promote wrestling, build quality teams, instruction and events throughout the state.”
Harcourt’s illustrious coaching career began in 1978 at Princess Anne Junior High, leading the program from 1978-1983. He then moved to open the new Great Neck Junior High coaching and teaching there from1983-1989, In 1989, he began coaching at the high school level, beginning at Green Run where he built a strong program at from 1989-1994 taking them to multiple State Dual Meet Championships. In February of 1994, he was asked to open Ocean Lakes, the new high school in Virginia Beach as the Health and Physical Education Department Chairman and new wrestling coach. Harcourt remained at Ocean Lakes until he retired in 2012, leaving a legacy of thirty-four successful years of coaching, developing many outstanding student-athletes on and off the mats.
After retirement in 2012, Coach Harcourt continues to be involved with many wrestling endeavors throughout the state, including founding the Virginia Beach Nationals tournament and serving as its CEO. Coach Harcourt has continued to stay active in USA Wrestling, presently serving as the Vice Chairman of the Virginia Wrestling Association. He is also the 1st Vice President of Virginia Challenge Wrestling, tournament director for the Virginia Challenge Wrestling National Holiday Duals, and the director for many other wrestling events. He continues to provide guidance and leadership to many state and local programs, coaches, and fans to help promote wrestling.
VAWA the Virginia Wrestling Association is a volunteer, non-profit organization, guided by USA Wrestling, striving to create an environment that encourages athletes, coaches and officials alike to show leadership, sportsmanship, hard work, perseverance and continuing education while training for success at any level. We are dedicated to the promotion of amateur wrestling, the world’s oldest sport.