Worthen inducted into Hall of Fame
During halftime of a recent Payson High School basketball game, Joe Worthen was inducted into the Nebo Athletic Hall of Fame while surrounded by a large group of family and friends who were in attendance.
Worthen graduated from Panguitch High School in 1957. He played basketball for Panguitch High, earning all-state and MVP honors his senior year. He also took State in the high jump. Worthen attended Dixie State, the University of Utah and Utah State where he played basketball. At Utah State, his basketball team placed third in the National Invitation Tournament. This tournament was played at Madison Square Garden.
In 1961, Worthen graduated from Utah State with a degree in physical education and mathematics. He taught math, coached all sports and drove the bus for Escalante High School. In 1963, he accepted a teaching position at Payson High School where he taught PE and math for 21 years. In 1980, he became the community school/ city recreation director for Payson City.
After 37 years with Nebo School District, Worthen retired.
During his years with Payson City Recreation, Worthen has organized many youth and adult sports programs. He was very involved with planning and creating new fields and the maintenance of all parks. He brought Karl Malone and John Stockton to Payson to promote the Jr. Jazz program for youth basketball. In 1985, during Worthen’s time as recreation director, Payson City Recreation received the Best New Recreation Program Award from the State of Utah.
Since his retirement from Nebo School District, Worthen has stayed busy participating in the Senior Games where he has won 10 medals, which five of them were gold. He has served for five years in the fire department and for 45 years as a basketball official. He has also served in many church callings. His family says he is quite the master fisherman.
Joe married Deanna Griever 55 years ago. Together they have four children, Wendi, Richard, Kriss Ann and Russell, as well as 15 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Joe Worthen, a former PE and math teacher at Payson High School, was recently inducted into the Nebo Athletic Hall of Fame.