Jack Writer

Inducted 1996
Written by Greg Walker

  Jack Writer

Perhaps the best shooter in the storied history of the West Virginia rifle program, Writer led the Mountaineers to the 1964 and 1966 national team titles and won the 1966 individual national smallbore rifle championship. WVU was undefeated during those two seasons, in which Writer captained the team.

Writer earned All-America status all three years as a marksman for the Mountaineers, and led WVU to an incredible 41-3 record from 1964-66. One of Writer's teammates was Trish Foster, who would later become the mother of WVU's four-time All-America shooter and 1996 Olympian Jean Foster.

Writer went on to bring further fame to West Virginia by winning 19 gold, 14 silver and two bronze medals during nearly 10 years of international competition. Perhaps his finest performance came in the 1972 Summer Olympics at Munich, where he set two Olympic and world records while winning the three-position rifle gold medal for the United States. His records came in the standing (381) and the aggregate (1,166) scores.

Writer captured the Olympic silver medal in the same event during the 1968 Mexico City Games, missing the gold by one point. Writer was WVU's first-ever rifle Olympian and started a remarkable run that has seen at least one West Virginia rifle alumnus as a member of seven of the last eight U.S. Summer Olympic teams, including the 1996 Atlanta Games.

He won world championships for the three-position standard rifle in 1970 and the 50-meter free rifle in 1974. In all, Writer set or was part of four individual and five team records during his years of competition. He was inducted into the U.S. Shooting Team Hall of Fame in 1995.

Born September 17, 1944, in Chicago, Writer wrestled for Riverside-Brookfield High School, but his favorite interest while growing up in LaGrange, Ill., was riflery. He began competitive shooting at age 12 and won the U.S. junior national championship while in high school.

A 1966 graduate of the University, Writer served two years in the U.S. Army and eight years in the Army Reserves while competing internationally. Since then, Writer has been involved in the family manufacturing business in Illinois. In 1990, Writer opened Straight Up Cyclery, which manufactures high-performance competition cycles for some of the top racers in North America.

Writer met his wife Ginger in a University physical education rifle course. They have two children, Kimberly (14) and Randy (8), and reside in Yorkville, Ill.