WSSU Joins the CIAA in Mourning the Passing of Pioneer Official James T. "Jim" Burch


APEX, NC - The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) family lost one of its most endearing and pioneering members with the passing of James T. "Jim" Burch, Monday. With a career that dates back for decades, Burch was a pioneering figure in collegiate athletics.

His career was a tremendous one that blazed a trail and broke barriers in collegiate athletics. He began his career with the CIAA in  1959. During his career, he has officiated in the CIAA, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), the Southern Athletic Conference (SAC) and he broke the color barrier in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) when he became the first African-American official in the ACC. He has officiated 14 NCAA Tournaments and he was featured twice in NCAA Champions magazine. During his career, he has mentored and trained hundreds of officials during his career. Over the past 18 years, Burch served as the Director of Officials with the CIAA until retiring in 2018.

For his stellar career, Burch has been honored several times. He has been inducted into 18 halls of fame. Most recently, he was a 2019 inductee into the CIAA John B. McLendon Hall of Fame.

In addition to his stellar career as an official, Burch also served as a former teacher and administrator for Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools. He has also served on numerous civic boards, including becoming the first African-American to serve on the Charlotte Housing Authority Housing Board. He also went on to establish the James T. Burch Scholarship to recognize student-athletes who exemplify the qualities of academic excellence, involvement in public service, and a love of athletic competition.

Burch has deep roots in the state of North Carolina. He is a native of Raleigh, N.C., but he was raised in Larchmont, N.Y.