After nearly 40 years as a coach, Wagner hanging up his whistle


After nearly 40 years of coaching, Jim Wagner is going to take a break.

The Clinton-Massie Middle School history teacher retired at the end of the school years after 35 years in the classroom — one at Beavercreek, one at Miamisburg and 33 at Clinton-Massie. He’s going to end his coaching run as well.

“I am not saying that somewhere down the line I may coach once again, but for now I am hanging up the old track spikes,” said Wagner, a 1982 graduate of Miamisburg High School and a 1987 graduate of Wright State University.

Wagner participated in cross country and track/field at Miamisburg HS, along with legion baseball in the summer.

Wagner coached three years of junior high cross country and four years of junior high track and field while in the Miamisburg school district.

At Massie, Wagner went 171-102 with three league championships during 17 years of coach varsity girls tennis. He coached 31 seasons of middle school track and field for CMMS and two years of varsity girls track and field at CMHS.

”Coaching many years at the junior high level, you have athletes with abilities all over the place,” said Wagner. “Some are very big, while others are quite small. They are growing into their bodies, learning new athletic skills and growing up into the individual they are going to be.”

And that provides many memorable moments.

“Years ago I had an athlete who had trouble running the curves on the track,” Wagner said. “He had so much difficulty, he would actually run straight into the fence that is along the track. There were some times he literally bounced off the fence. It took a while for him to navigate that part of his race. Eventually he did, and became one of the best track and field athletes to come out of Clinton-Massie. Another was coaching a set of twins, on one of the teams. I was unable to tell them apart. Their parents bought them different colored shoes, to help me perhaps. Then the boys started mixing up their shoes just to confuse me, much to their amusement.”

Wagner said at the end of each sports season, he put together a booklet summarizing the season.

”Several weeks ago, at a local restaurant. a man came up to our table,” he said. “I had not seen him in years, but I still recognized him. He introduced his children to me, one who is running junior high track. The dad said to his son ‘Remember the track booklet, you were looking at? Well this was my coach who made that’.

“I felt so good that he valued that and still had it. He had been sharing it with his son and his son said he hoped his coach would make them for his team this year.”

Wagner feels fortunate to have been part of so many lives throughout his coaching tenure.

”I can say that I have been blessed to coach so many fine athletes during my tenure at Clinton-Massie, whether they were on the track and field teams, or on the tennis teams,” he said. “It is such a pleasure to see them succeeding in their adult lives, with their families and careers. I am glad to have been a part of their lives and I hope I made a positive impact on them, because I know they did on me. Thank you for all the memories.”

By Mark Huber

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Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @wnjsports

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