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WTAP Sports Director Jim Wharton is retiring after more than four decades

Published: May. 27, 2021 at 6:24 PM EDT|Updated: May. 30, 2021 at 1:31 AM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Gray Television’s NBC affiliate WTAP Parkersburg, WV, says its Sports Director Jim Wharton is hanging it up after more than four decades.

One of the longtime faces of WTAP is calling it a career. Jim Wharton has been with WTAP for 45 years, but he has been a part of the Mid-Ohio Valley much longer.

He will be retiring at the end of June. Jim’s last sportscast on WTAP News will be Friday, May 28, 2021.

Jim grew up in Parkersburg, W. Va., attending and graduated from Parkersburg Catholic in 1973. He then attended Marshall University.

Glenn Wilson first hired Jim as a part-time camera operator in 1976.

Jim has worn many hats over the years at WTAP, including numerous jobs behinds the scenes. He was a board operator making sure programming ran smoothly on WTAP. He also directed newscasts and edited commercials, but sports was always his true passion.

Jim got his break in 1978 when he helped cover Parkersburg High School winning the W. Va. state high school football championship. WTAP General Manager Sherman Grimm would then allow Jim to start reporting sports full-time.

Jim would become WTAP’s sports director in 1984. At the same time, he served as the station’s production manager.

Over the years, Jim has covered thousands of high school sporting events and numerous championship teams in basketball, cross country, football, soccer, swimming, track, tennis, and wrestling.

Jim’s reporting has taken him out of the Mid-Ohio Valley to cover sports across the country. He has brought home stories about many WVU bowl games and spring training camps of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and Cleveland Indians.

Jim helped kick off WTAP’s award-winning high school football highlight show “Football Frenzy,” which recently marked its 20th anniversary.

Under Jim Wharton’s direction, WTAP’s sports department has won many awards, including Associated Press honors for Best Regularly Scheduled Sportscast in Ohio and West Virginia, Best Small Market Sports Operation in West Virginia. Jim has also won the Best Small Market Sports Anchor of the Year.

In 2017 Jim was awarded the Virginias Associated Press’ West Virginia Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also a member of the Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame committee.

Jim’s influence at WTAP goes much deeper than just sports. He has mentored and helped so many news and sports journalists during his time working in the WTAP Newsroom.

Jim will continue to serve as the play-by-play voice of WTAP’s LIVE coverage of high school football games.

Here is a video of some former and current WTAP personalities, with their regards for Jim...

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