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In Memoriam - Jack Wilmore (Fall 2014)


The passing of a giant: Jack Wilmore, 1938-2014



The kinesiology field has lost one of its inaugural leaders.


Jack Wilmore, coauthor of Physiology of Sport and Exercise, died at the age of 76 on November 17th in Sun Lakes, Arizona. Jack helped lead the profession of physical education into the diverse and highly specialized sport and exercise sciences making up the field of kinesiology. Jack helped re-engineer higher education as more universities developed degrees in the kinesiology fields and professions.


Jack had many roles—teacher, researcher, and leader in the field:


  • Teacher. Jack retired in 2003 from Texas A&M University as a distinguished professor. From 1985 to 1997, he was the chair of the department of kinesiology and health education and the Margie Gurley Seay Endowed Centennial professor at the University of Texas in Austin. Before that he served on the faculties at the University of Arizona, the University of California, and Ithaca College. He earned his PhD from the University of Oregon in 1966.
  • Researcher. Jack published 53 chapters and 320 peer-reviewed research papers. He was one of five principal investigators for the HERITAGE Family Study, a large multicenter clinical trial investigating the possible genetic basis for the variability in the responses of physiological measures and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes to endurance exercise training. Jack’s research interests have included determining the role of exercise in the prevention and control of both obesity and coronary heart disease, determining the mechanisms accounting for alterations in physiological function with training and detraining, and factors limiting the performance of elite athletes. He was awarded more than $2.7 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the United Stated Air Force. He was the editor in chief of Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews from 1972 to 1975 and associate editor of Research Quarterly from 1972 to 1976. He served on the editorial boards of 11 research journals.
  • Leader. A former president of the American College of Sports Medicine, Jack received ACSM’s Honor Award in 2006. He served on numerous ACSM committees. He also served on the United States Olympic Committee’s Sports Medicine Council and chaired their Research Council. He is a fellow and former president of the National Academy of Kinesiology (formerly the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education). Jack served as a consultant to many sports teams, including the Dodgers, Angels, Rams, 49ers, Lakers, and Kings (NHL). He served on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport.


HK President Rainer Martens recruited Jack and David Costill to write HK’s first major college textbook. While HK had many titles used as textbooks, HK had yet to challenge the major publishers with a book that would go head to head in a popular course. Physiology of Sport and Exercise became that book in 1994.


In publishing and academic circles, books are often referenced by the first author’s last name. So, a professor might indicate he is using Wilmore. At HK, Wilmore became the standard against which all future titles were measured in terms of the quality of the content, design, four-color artwork, and ancillaries accompanying it. Wilmore was HK’s first four-color textbook. It was the first textbook to have an e-book version enhanced with interactive student exercises. The title immediately threatened established textbooks from McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. With the fourth edition, author Larry Kenney joined Jack and David. It has become the world’s top exercise physiology textbook. The sixth edition is scheduled to be published in May. Over its life, Physiology of Sport and Exercise has sold more than 233,000 print and digital copies.


While many of our staff now refer to Physiology of Sport and Exercise as Kenney, it will always remain Wilmore in the hearts of veteran HK staff.


Jack is survived by his wife, Dottie; three daughters (Wendy, Kristi, and Melissa) and their husbands; and seven grandchildren.



—Brian Holding


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