Luther College Chips

Wettach retires from coaching after 33 years at Luther

Jeff Wettach (‘79) introduces alumni at the 2018 Alumni meet.

Jeff Wettach (‘79) introduces alumni at the 2018 Alumni meet.

Photo coutesy of Photo Bureau

Photo coutesy of Photo Bureau

Jeff Wettach (‘79) introduces alumni at the 2018 Alumni meet.

Jorge Contreras, Staff Writer

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Head Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Coach Jeff Wettach (‘79) will retire at the end of the year. Wettach has served at Luther for 33 years in a number of different capacities.

“All in all, I have been so lucky to coach Men’s and Women’s Track and Field, Men’s Cross Country, and Football.” Wettach said. “All of these have provided amazing opportunities to grow as an educator and to work with many special people. For the past 33 years, this is the only job I have ever wanted. It has been the perfect job for me.”

Prior to coaching, Wettach was an athlete at Luther on the Football and Track and Field teams.

Wettach was hired in 1985 in a tenure-track faculty position in the health and physical education department. He also served as assistant coach for both the Football and Men’s Track and Field Teams.

While at Luther, Wettach has taught a variety of courses, including Coaching Theory of Track & Field, Methods of Teaching Team Sports, and Adaptive P.E. as well as a number of skills classes.

During Wettach’s first 12 years at Luther, he was an Assistant Coach for Football and Men’s Track and Field, after which he became Head Men’s Track and Field Coach in 1987. In 1997, he was named Men’s Cross Country Coach, serving in that position until 2005 and in 2006, Wettach also became the Women’s Track and Field Head Coach.

Photo courtesy of Photo Bureau
Jeff Wettach (‘79) with his daughter Molly Wettach (‘17) at the 2017 Norse Awards.

Throughout his many commitments over the years, Wettach’s love of Luther has been the defining thread that holds everything together.

“I still love walking through the doors of Regents Center every day,” Wettach said. “Just as I did 33 years ago. In my early years at Luther I was a bit more anxious, though. It was challenging to keep up with everything, as I was coaching with two sports — football and track and field — teaching classes, and attending committee meetings.”

According to Assistant Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Coach Doug Hamilton (‘11) Wettach pushed him to better himself on and off the track.

“When I arrived at Luther and joined the track team, my primary concern was running faster,” Hamilton said. “However, [Wettach’s] primary concern was my development as a complete person, not just as a student-athlete.”

During his years at Luther, Wettach met and worked with numerous students and faculty members. He emphasized that he has learned much from his colleagues in his time at Luther.

“I had so much respect for my older colleagues in my early years [such as] Paul Solberg, Bob Naslund, Kent Finanger, Betty Hoff, and Jay McGrew — all of whom served Luther for 25 years or more,” Wettach said. “These friends were, and continue to be, amazing mentors to me. So the opportunity for me to serve at Luther for 33 years is very pleasing and rewarding.”

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