In Memoriam – Jim McCormick, 1944-2020

Jim McCormick, who was involved in water skiing for more than 50 years as a competitor, coach, innovator, and pioneer died on June 20. He was 75 years old. Jim coached some of the sport’s greatest athletes, including Sammy Duvall, Wayne Grimditch, Mike Hazelwood, Bob LaPoint, Kris LaPoint, Nicholas Le Forestier, Patrice Martin, Karin Roberge, Ron Scarpa, Don Thompson, and Christie Weir, just to name a few. He also coached junior and elite teams from Belgium, France, Canada, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United States. He helped design slalom skis with Cypress Gardens; and worked with Correct Craft on R&D for new boats.

Having created the first man-made ski school lake in the United States, he made the three-lake ski site available for numerous major tournaments, including the Pan American Water Ski Championships and several U.S. water ski team trials. On one of the lakes, he opened a cable park in 2008.

Jim was the first to incorporate video into ski school training and made several innovations – such as grooves and top beveled edges as well as shorter skis – in the construction of trick skis.

Because Jim’s competitive career was cut short by a knee injury in 1958, he decided to begin concentrating on coaching. He moved from his native Missouri to Florida in 1967 so that he could coach full-time.

Jim had four sons: Jimmy, MIchael, Daniel and Patrick, who set records that still stand today. Finally, he played a major role in developing the skills of his Hall of Fame brother, Ricky, who was one of the best skiers in the world during his heyday.  Jim was given the USA Water Ski Foundation’s Award of Distinction in 1997 and its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.