Jim Schmutz was possibly the best “keeper” in New Jersey his senior year. He was overwhelmingly voted captain of the soccer team for his “cool-headed” leadership. Receiving honorable mention All-Prep accolades as a junior, Jim was an integral part of the “diamond defense” executed by the team, which ranked third in the state that year. His soccer trajectory began as a sophomore on the varsity squad when he recorded two shutouts.
“Not only did he make amazing saves when he stepped into the goal, but he brought a personality to games and practices that enriched the experience for teammates and coaches,” according to Coach Ted Haynie. “When I saw Jimmy play for the first time, I recall walking over to the other coach I was working with and delightedly saying, ‘We have a goalie! We have a goalie!’ At the time he was an underclassman and I knew Peddie was set as far as that crucial position for years to come. He was that good, and it was obvious from day one.”
On the golf course, Jim was just as skilled. As a sophomore, he was part of the state championship foursome that scored 317, the third lowest score in the history of the tournament. Captain Len Brooks led the team with a 5 over par 75. Schmutz was a close second with 77. The winning four-man score was the highest ever on the very difficult course.
Jim captained the golf team as well, earning honors such as the Golf Trophy for “ability, loyalty, and sportsmanship” and a berth on the Blair-Stowe team that traveled to England. He was honored as a member of the Gold Key his senior year.
Practicing and competing in three sports throughout his years at Peddie had a profound impact on Jim’s life. He turned the lessons he learned into a 19 year career with the Special Olympics. For Jim, the values of sportsmanship, preparation, repetition, and friendship outweigh wins and losses. Now, Executive Director of the American Sport Education Program (ASEP), Jim is perpetuating these lessons through the education of coaches.
For his athletic abilities, character, and leadership, the Hall takes pride in Jim’s induction.