Jim Hulsman is Albuquerque's "winningest" coach with a record of 660 wins, 24 state tournaments and 7 New Mexico State Basketball Championships. Born in Pittsburgh, Pa., Hulsman came to New Mexico in 1940. He attended Monte Vista Elementary School, Jefferson Jr. High and graduated from Albuquerque High School in 1949 under the leadership of Coach Pete McDavid.
At AHS, he lettered in track and football. He lettered in basketball at the College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande before he moved to the University of New Mexico. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the UNM in 1959.
Shortly after returning from the Korean War, Jim first hung a whistle around his neck as head track and cross country coach and as an assistant coach for the football and basketball teams. In 1961, he took over as Albuquerque High School's head basketball coach and began a career full of honors and successful athletes lasting 41 years.
Students at Albuquerque High School always knew basketball season was about to begin when the boys on the basketball team appeared at school with a buzz cut at least ½ inch above their ears. Regardless of the current fashion and their personal preferences, his teams showed respect for and loyalty to their coach by adhering to his requirements. In return, Hulsman coached, taught, understood and mentored them.
Dr. Harold Bailey says, "He taught us about teamwork, responsibility, respect, discipline and manhood." He checked grades so often that he could intervene before the student fell too far behind. After an athlete was hurt, he was at the hospital to be with the family - almost before the ambulance.
Hulsman is also a historian of his players. He knew each player by name and continues to remember the smallest details about them - weight, height and funny anecdotes. Without prompting, Hulsman can name a number of kids he coached or taught then proudly proclaim that he also coached or taught their mother, father, aunt or uncle.
He continues to celebrate successes with his players and he can tell you where they are, what they are doing and, sadly, remember who has passed on. He donated his unique and sizeable documentation on his players and Albuquerque's Athletics to Zimmerman Library, thus distinguishing himself as a notable historian.
He is the recipient of many state, regional and national awards including two national Coach of the Year awards and he was named Coach of the Year 15 times by sportswriters and sportscasters throughout the state. He has been honored for his significant contributions to the field of education with the UNM Alumni Association's Bernard Rodey Award. His list of speaking engagements goes on for pages.
After retirement, Hulsman didn't slow down. He taught basketball theory classes at UNM for upper-division students, coached basketball clinics in the U.S and abroad, served on the New Mexico Athletics Association Commission and the New Mexico Coaches Association Board of Directors.
Many people don't know that Hulsman is also an accomplished baseball coach. He coached a local semi-pro baseball team to a 5th place finish at the national semi-pro tournament in 1955. In 1972 he decided to forego a career managing baseball though he had compiled a 225-74 record as a manager at all levels before working as a baseball scout for the Cleveland Indians from 1962-1972.
At his side or in the seat behind him at games, his wife, Mary Lois, has always been deeply involved in the sports programs at Albuquerque High School. She continues her avid involvement and support of Hulsman's activities.
Jim Hulsman's unblemished character, his remarkable accomplishments and his many tangible and intangible contributions to the University of New Mexico and the sports scene in Albuquerque and throughout New Mexico make him a member in the Hall of Honor.