James Gary

Lewis has a long history of baseball successes – MLB players, Chicago Cubs historian, and more – but now the school can add the NHL to the list.

After studying Psychology at Lewis, Jim Gary ’65 has had a long and successful career as the Mental Skills Coach for the Chicago Blackhawks.  

Jim began his career several decades ago by opening his own practice (that he still has today) where he offers individual and family counseling. Shortly after, he pursued a position in high school counseling working with athletes at a local high school in Des Plaines.

Impressed by Jim’s work in the school, a staff member from the Chicago Blackhawks asked him to help one of the players in 1994. By 1999, he was asked to come and work with the Chicago Blackhawks full time as the Mental Skills Coach. Based on his credentials as a licensed therapist and experience with athletes, including the Blackhawks, he seemed like the ideal candidate.

Jim works with the entire team to enhance performance during the game. He teaches them how to relax, control their thoughts and program their bodies before hitting the ice. In this position, he is able to travel around the country with the players if they are accessible before an away game.

After being a part of three NHL Championships, Jim is thrilled to have played such an important role in the Blackhawks’ success. He also has the opportunity to work with the Rockford Ice Hogs (an affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks) and prospect players, in addition to the Blackhawks.  

“Every day I see people that want to work at something and achieve their goals,” says Jim. “It is a great feeling knowing that I am able to help.”  

A few years ago, Jim came back to campus to discuss his career with the Chicago Blackhawks and show students his championship rings. Jim received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Lewis and went on to earn his master’s degree in Counseling from Northern Illinois University. Jim enjoyed his time at Lewis and believes that a lot of his professional success stems from the tight-knit community that Lewis provided.

“Lewis provides its students with a small, intimate class setting,” says Jim. “I knew all of the teachers on an individual basis and was able to truly connect to everyone in the classroom.”

Lewis University provided Jim with the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in his practice. He truly enjoys every minute of this once in a lifetime opportunity to work with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Jim has been married for 50 years, and now has two sons who have also blessed him with two beautiful granddaughters.


April 2017

<< Back to decade


Did you know we have more than 40,000 alumni worldwide? Read feature stories and news items online about some of our most notable alumni. Read more.