Jim Kerwin is one of the all-time greats in Tulane Basketball history. A native of New Jersey, he joined the Green Wave in 1960 and would go on to set Tulane’s all-time career scoring mark with 1,462 points in his three seasons (freshman were not eligible to play varsity sports) in New Orleans. Despite playing just 66 games, his scoring total still ranks 10th all-time at Tulane – and his career scoring average of 22.15 points per game is still tops in the school’s record books (as of 2021).
Kerwin also established the Tulane records for single-season scoring (509 points) and scoring average (23.1, third as of 2021) during his junior season of 1961-62. As a sophomore, he recorded the still-standing mark for single-game points and field goals when he connected on 20 shots to finish with 45 points in a victory over Southeastern Louisiana during his sophomore campaign (February 1, 1961). He averaged 20.5 points per game as a sophomore and he had another big year as a senior, averaging 23.0 points per game.
A three-time All-American and All-SEC selection, Kerwin was the 1962 Sophomore of the Year in the SEC and led the conference in scoring his senior season, earning consensus All-America honors that same year.
A native of Long Branch, N.J. (born March 23, 1941), he had a standout career at Croydon Hall High School in Middletown, N.J. With over 75 Division I scholarship offers, he chose to attend Tulane University to play for legendary Green Wave coach Clifford Wells, also a member of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame.
Following his graduation, Kerwin was a sixth-round pick of the New York Knicks, but never played in the NBA. Instead he played four years of semipro ball with the Phillips 66ers in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Following his playing career, he joined the coaching ranks. He had his start at the high school level at Kearney (Kans.) High School and Stillwater (Okla.) High School, compiling a mark of 129-41 before moving to the junior college level. In stops at Northern Oklahoma College (1978-80) and Seminole State College (1980-84), Kerwin posted an overall mark of 125-26 and earned Oklahoma Junior College Coach of the Year honors five times. He coached future NBA player Anthony Bowie at the latter stop.
His success caught the attention of legendary Oklahoma coach Billy Tubbs who brought him onto the Sooner staff from 1984-90. From there, he spent two years on Dana Altman’s staff at Kansas State. In 1992, he accepted the head coaching position at Western Illinois, where he stayed for 11 season, posting an overall mark of 135-174 before resigning in 2003.