Jimmy “Moose’’ Wallace is returning to the sidelines as head coach of the Northwestern Trojans football team.
When the school district decided two years ago to split the jobs of head coach and athletics director, Wallace chose to give up football and stayed on as the full-time AD.
Michael Allen was hired to replace Wallace, but the football job became vacant when Allen stepped down in February after two seasons.
In his 18 years holding both positions at Northwestern, Wallace was 187-53, a winning percentage of .779. The Trojans played in four Class AAAA Big 16 state championships, winning twice.
“The passion is still there. The fire is still there,’’ Wallace said today. “I missed the players and look forward to getting back. We have three weeks until spring practice starts and it’s full speed ahead ... 100 miles an hour.
“We’re talking about three teams. The first is the coaches, the second is the players and the third is the community, Trojan Nation. There are zillions of them out there.’’
Wallace has been in the business 35 years. He has retired and has finished the state’s TERI plan, which runs five years. A coach or teacher can stay past those years if approved.
Elaine Baker, the district’s Information Services Director, said Wallace will be paid $85,495 this year as the AD, a 12-month job. If he had been the head football coach and had taught two classes this year, Wallace would have been on an 11-month contract that would have paid him $70,654.47.
“The head football coach/teacher’s job is based on certification and experience,’’ Baker said. “Each of the head football coaches in our district get a $7,555 supplement. Salaries have not been set for next year, so they could go up.’’
Northwestern principal James Blake said he will recommend to the school board that in addition to being head football coach and teaching two classes, Wallace be allowed to serve as an assistant athletics director. If so, Wallace would be paid more than the figures Baker supplied.
“We have someone in place who has been an AD, and coach Wallace has done well for us in an administrative roll,’’ Blake said. “We received six applications for our football job. After looking through them, my administrative team and I realized coach Wallace knows our students and our community. He’s has had success on the football field.
“I asked coach Wallace if he would be interested in the job. We had a long discussion about everything involved and I could tell he still had the passion for coaching. He knows teaching two classes is part of it. He’s certified in physical education and administration.’’
Blake said everything is pending school board approval and that Wallace’s teaching assignments been not determined. According to Blake, Wallace likely will be on a 220-day contract.
Blake added there are several inside candidates for the AD job, which will be advertised after spring break. He intends to hire the person most qualified and understands the expectations of the school’s sports teams. Wallace met with the Trojans’ players Friday afternoon at 3.
“I’m looking forward to this and have tremendous respect for our coaching staff,’’ Wallace said. “Most of us have been together for 18 years and 99 percent of that time has been great.
“In life, you chase you passion, not your pension. I love this school and wanted to do what was in the best interests for everyone involved. I’ll serve our kids and give our football program maximum attention. As my two children like to tell me, football is who I am. ’’
Barry Byers • 329-4099 email@example.com