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Jim Wacker (April 28, 1937 - August 26, 2003) was an American football college head coach who was known for his enthusiasm and integrity. His career won-lost-tied record was 160-130-3.

Wacker was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan as the son of a Lutheran minister. He graduated from Valparaiso University in 1960 and went on to further studies at Wayne State University.

In the early phase of his career, he coached at Texas Lutheran University (1971-1975), North Dakota State University (1976-1978), and Southwest Texas State University (1979-1982). He won four national championships during this phase of his career, two at Southwest Texas and two at Texas Lutheran.

Contents

TCU years

Wacker became head football coach of Texas Christian University after the 1982 season. He had early success at TCU - his team was ranked as high as #12 (the Frogs' highest ranking since 1960), and was invited to the Bluebonnet Bowl after an 8-3 record during the 1984 regular season. The #12 Frogs lost a showdown with the tenth-ranked University of Texas Longhorns on November 10 for the Southwest Conference title, in what remains the 2nd best-attended game in the history of Amon G. Carter Stadium. After the season, Wacker was named as National Coach of the Year by ESPN, the UPI, and The Sporting News. He was awarded the 1984 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award. There was much hype surrounding the Frogs going into the 1985 season, and Wacker appeared on the cover of Dave Campbell's Texas Football alongside his All-America running back Kenneth E. Davis, a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 1984 and a leading candidate for the award heading into 1985. After the first game of the season, Wacker discovered that several players, including Davis, had been benefiting from a payment plan in violation of NCAA rules. He dismissed the players from the team and voluntarily reported the infractions to the NCAA, which issued stiff recruiting penalties on his team. These actions led to Wacker's reputation as a man of integrity. Fans of TCU remain bitter that the penalty heaped on TCU for the violations were severe given that the violations were voluntarily reported. [1]

After several years of struggling due to the NCAA penalties, Wacker brought the team back to success in 1990, when the 5-1 Frogs returned to the Top 25 for the first time since 1984 before slumping after a season-ending injury to their starting quarterback, and again in 1991, when the Frogs finished 7-4 for their first winning record since 1984.

Minnesota

Wacker served as head coach of the University of Minnesota from 1992-1996. Although he had a disappointing won-lost record (16-39) at Minnesota, for three years his teams led the conference with academic all-conference honors.

Return to Texas

Wacker was an announcer on CBS Radio for a couple of years and then returned to Southwest Texas in 1998 to serve as athletic director.

He died after a long battle with cancer in San Marcos, Texas in 2003. Texas State University named its football field at Bobcat Stadium "Jim Wacker Field" in his honor.

Head coaching records

Non Division I-A

Year Team Overall
North Dakota State (1976–1978)
1976 North Dakota State 9-3
1977 North Dakota State 9-2-1
1978 North Dakota State 6-4
North Dakota State: 24-9-1
Southwest Texas State (1979–1982)
1979 Southwest Texas State 7-4
1980 Southwest Texas State 8-3
1981 Southwest Texas State 13-1
1982 Southwest Texas State 14-0
Southwest Texas State: 42-8
Total: 66-17-1

Division I-A

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl Coaches# AP°
Texas Christian (Southwest Conference) (1983–1991)
1983 Texas Christian 1-8-2 1-6-1 8th
1984 Texas Christian 8-4 5-3 3rd (tie) L 14-31 Bluebonnet Bowl
1985 Texas Christian 3-8 0-8 9th
1986 Texas Christian 3-8 1-7 8th
1987 Texas Christian 5-6 3-4 5th (tie)
1988 Texas Christian 4-7 2-5 5th (tie)
1989 Texas Christian 4-7 2-6 7th (tie)
1990 Texas Christian 5-6 3-5 5th (tie)
1991 Texas Christian 7-4 4-4 5th (tie)
Texas Christian: 40-58-2 21-48-1
Minnesota (Big Ten Conference) (1992–1996)
1992 Minnesota 2-9 2-6 10th
1993 Minnesota 4-7 3-5 8th (tie)
1994 Minnesota 3-8 1-7 11th
1995 Minnesota 3-8 1-7 10th
1996 Minnesota 4-7 1-7 9th (tie)
Minnesota: 16-39 8-32
Total: 59-97-2
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

References

http://www.ncaasports.com/football/mens/story/6913979

Notes

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ev Kjelbertson
North Dakota State Head Football Coach
1976–1978
Succeeded by
Don Morton
Preceded by
F.A. Dry
Texas Christian University Head Football Coach
1983–1991
Succeeded by
Pat Sullivan
Preceded by
John Gutekunst
University of Minnesota Head Football Coach
1992–1996
Succeeded by
Glen Mason
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