Wallace returns as Northwestern coach

Jimmy “Moose’’ Wallace is returning to the sidelines as head coach of theNorthwestern Trojans football team.

When the school district decided two years ago to split the jobs of headcoach and athletics director, Wallace chose to give up football and stayedon as the full-time AD.

Michael Allen was hired to replace Wallace, but the football job becamevacant 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 16state 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 weeksuntil spring practice starts and it’s full speed ahead ... 100 miles anhour.

“We’re talking about three teams. The first is the coaches, the second isthe players and the third is the community, Trojan Nation. There arezillions of them out there.’’

Wallace has been in the business 35 years. He has retired and has finishedthe state’s TERI plan, which runs five years. A coach or teacher can staypast those years if approved.

Elaine Baker, the district’s Information Services Director, said Wallacewill be paid $85,495 this year as the AD, a 12-month job. If he had been thehead football coach and had taught two classes this year, Wallace would havebeen on an 11-month contract that would have paid him $70,654.47.

“The head football coach/teacher’s job is based on certification andexperience,’’ Baker said. “Each of the head football coaches in our districtget a $7,555 supplement. Salaries have not been set for next year, so theycould go up.’’

Northwestern principal James Blake said he will recommend to the schoolboard that in addition to being head football coach and teaching twoclasses, Wallace be allowed to serve as an assistant athletics director. Ifso, Wallace would be paid more than the figures Baker supplied.

“We have someone in place who has been an AD, and coach Wallace has donewell for us in an administrative roll,’’ Blake said. “We received sixapplications for our football job. After looking through them, myadministrative team and I realized coach Wallace knows our students and ourcommunity. He’s has had success on the football field.

“I asked coach Wallace if he would be interested in the job. We had a longdiscussion about everything involved and I could tell he still had thepassion for coaching. He knows teaching two classes is part of it. He’scertified in physical education and administration.’’

Blake said everything is pending school board approval and that Wallace’steaching assignments been not determined. According to Blake, Wallace likelywill be on a 220-day contract.

Blake added there are several inside candidates for the AD job, which willbe advertised after spring break. He intends to hire the person mostqualified 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 coachingstaff,’’ Wallace said. “Most of us have been together for 18 years and 99percent of that time has been great.

“In life, you chase you passion, not your pension. I love this school andwanted to do what was in the best interests for everyone involved. I’llserve our kids and give our football program maximum attention. As my twochildren like to tell me, football is who I am. ’’

Barry Byers • 329-4099bbyers@heraldonline.com