Coach James P. Arnold

  • Photos by Anthony Jinson

Professional background
I am entering my 21st year working in higher education.  While the bulk of that time has been in athletics as a women’s basketball coach and administrator, I’ve also been blessed to work at some fantastic institutions with opportunities to contribute as director of residential life, interim vice president of enrollment management, adjunct faculty, baseball coach, women’s golf coach, and director of intramurals.  

Hometown
Paw Paw, WV. 

Years lived in Columbia
Four.

Favorite volunteer/community activity
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed serving the last three years on the Columbia Sports Commission. I also have a passion for the election process and have served as an election judge for the past five years. 

Favorite recent project
Helping Columbia secure the return of the MSHSAA high school basketball tournaments and keep the other events.  Also, winning the bid for Columbia and Columbia College to co-host the 2024, 2027, and 2030 NAIA Cross Country National Championship.

A Columbia businessperson you admire and why
L’Mont & Kathy Betz – they have built a beautiful and long-term successful business with an emphasis on customer service, family values, and a quality product.

Why you are passionate about your job
I get to spend time with young adults, work every day to support their journey, create a positive and safe environment for growth, and make their student-athlete experience first class. 

Why you are passionate about your company
Prior to joining CC, I worked for peer institutions and always admired how CC operates.  There is an expectation and the support to strive for excellence.  

If you weren’t doing this for a living, you would
Perhaps something in economic development or the political arena.  

What people should know about your profession
As with most professions, the “fun stuff” is about 8% of the work.

The next challenge facing your industry
The changes in amateur athletics and rising insurance and transportation costs.

Your next professional goal
Complete my Ed.D. in higher education leadership. 

Biggest lesson learned in business
Leadership can be lonely, so be sure to have a support system of other leaders in place for reflection, advice, and venting. 

How you want to impact the Columbia community
Bringing more and more events and visitors to this fantastic community.

Greatest strength
I’m a problem solver. 

Greatest weakness
Getting away from my phone.

What you do for fun
I love music, concerts, travel, and camping with my family.

Family
My beautiful wife of 18 years, Lesley, teaches kindergarten at Grant Elementary and my daughter, Audrey, who is a freshman in high school.

Favorite place in Columbia
Broadway Brewery.

Accomplishment you are most proud of
Being a first-generation college graduate.

Most people don’t know that
I went to college with Channing Tatum. 

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