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Former NCJA President and Cumberland College Coach "Doc" O.J. Helvey Passes Away

April 01, 2009, 7:19 p.m. (ET)
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) - USA Judo is saddened to announce that Dr. Omer James Helvey, known as "Doc" to his students, passed away on Friday at the age of 86 at Williamsburg Nursing Home in Williamsburg, Ky.

The founder of the judo program at Cumberland College in 1963, Dr. Helvey coached the team until his retirement in 1986.  Among the players he coached during his career were Olympians Doug Nelson, Eddie Liddie, Leo White and Joe Marchal; and former elite athletes Tommy Dyer, Brian Germain, Mitch Lewis, Jean-Claude Liddie and Kris Ringgold.

One of the principal players in the collegiate judo movement, Dr. Helvey was the first collegiate coach to lead his team to upset the previously undefeat San Jose State University at the Collegiate National Championships. 

Dr. Helvey was a past president of the National Collegiate Judo Association and an NAIA representative to the U.S. Olympic Committee; however, among all of his accolades and accomplishments, he will be best remembered for his courage, honor, humor and positive influence on the lives of so many.

Dr. Helvey is survived by his wife Margorie Lee Wells Helvey, three children, three grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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