American Football Database
Jim Wacker
File:Jim Wacker.png
Biographical details
Born(1937-04-29)April 29, 1937
Detroit, Michigan
DiedAugust 26, 2003(2003-08-26) (aged 66)
San Marcos, Texas
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Texas Lutheran
North Dakota State
Southwest Texas State
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1998–2001Southwest Texas State
Head coaching record
Tournaments4–0 (NAIA D-II playoffs)
8–2 (NCAA D-II playoffs)
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
2 NAIA Division II National (1974–1975)
2 NCAA Division II National (1981–1982)
2 North Central Conference (1976–1977)
3 Lone Star Conference (1980–1982)
AFCA College Division Coach of the Year (1982)
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award (1984)
Sporting News College Football COY (1984)

Jim Wacker (April 28, 1937 – August 26, 2003) was an American football coach and college athletics administrator. He served as the head football coach at Texas Lutheran University (1971–1975), North Dakota State University (1976–1978), Southwest Texas State University—now Texas State University–San Marcos (1979–1982), Texas Christian University (1983–1991), and the University of Minnesota (1992–1996), compiling a career college football record of 159–131–3. Wacker won two NAIA Division II National Championships with Texas Lutheran in 1974 and 1975, and two NCAA Division II National Championships with Southwest Texas State in 1981 and 1982.

Early life and education

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

Coaching career

In the early phase of his coaching career, Wacker 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, two at Texas Lutheran and two at Southwest Texas State.


Wacker became head football coach of Texas Christian University after the 1982 season. He had early success at TCU. In 1984, his team was ranked as high as #12, the TCU Frogs' highest ranking since 1960, and was invited to the Bluebonnet Bowl after an 8–3 record in the regular season. The #12-ranked Frogs lost a showdown for the Southwest Conference title with the #10-ranked Texas Longhorns on November 10 in what remains the third 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-American running back, Kenneth Davis, a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 1984 and a leading candidate for the award in 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. In 1991, TCU finished 7–4 for their first winning season since 1984.


Wacker served as head coach at the University of Minnesota from 1992 to 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.

Later life, death, and honors

Wacker was an announcer on CBS Radio for two years and then returned to Southwest Texas State University in 1998 to serve as athletic director until 2001. He died after a long battle with cancer in San Marcos, Texas on August 26, 2003. In November 2003, Southwest Texas State named its football field at Bobcat Stadium "Jim Wacker Field" in his honor.[2]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Texas Lutheran Bulldogs () (1971–1975)
1971 Texas Lutheran 5–6
1972 Texas Lutheran 3–7
1971 Texas Lutheran 7–3
1974 Texas Lutheran 11–0 W NAIA Division II Championship
1975 Texas Lutheran 11–1 W NAIA Division II Championship
Texas Lutheran: 37–17
North Dakota State Bison (North Central Conference) (1976–1978)
1976 North Dakota State 9–3 6–0 1st L NCAA Division II Semifinal (Grantland Rice)
1977 North Dakota State 9–2–1 6–0–1 1st L NCAA Division II Semifinal (Grantland Rice)
1978 North Dakota State 6–4 3–3 T–3rd
North Dakota State: 24–9–1 15–3–1
Southwest Texas State Bobcats (Lone Star Conference) (1979–1982)
1979 Southwest Texas State 7–4
1980 Southwest Texas State 8–3 1st
1981 Southwest Texas State 13–1 1st W NCAA Division II Championship
1982 Southwest Texas State 14–0 1st W NCAA Division II Championship
Southwest Texas State: 42–8
TCU Horned Frogs (Southwest Conference) (1983–1991)
1983 TCU 1–8–2 1–6–1 8th
1984 TCU 8–4 5–3 T–3rd L Bluebonnet
1985 TCU 3–8 0–8 9th
1986 TCU 3–8 1–7 8th
1987 TCU 5–6 3–4 T–5th
1988 TCU 4–7 2–5 T–5th
1989 TCU 4–7 2–6 T–7th
1990 TCU 5–6 3–5 T–5th
1991 TCU 7–4 4–4 T–5th
TCU: 40–58–2 21–48–1
Minnesota Golden Gophers (Big Ten Conference) (1992–1996)
1992 Minnesota 2–9 2–6 10th
1993 Minnesota 4–7 3–5 T–8th
1994 Minnesota 3–8 1–7 11th
1995 Minnesota 3–8 1–7 10th
1996 Minnesota 4–7 1–7 T–9th
Minnesota: 16–39 8–32
Total: 159–131–3
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


External links