On April 24, as I was going through pregame warmup with the Chestatee women’s soccer team, we could hear loud chants coming from inside the West Hall High School Stadium: “Wolfgang ... Wolfgang.”
This was Coach Wolfgang Jager’s final high school career game and he was going out with a win. The “Mad” German, who started the soccer program when West Hall opened 23 years ago, is retiring.
Almost 30 years ago, I met “Wolf” at a Christmas party and invited him to help me with the Johnson men’s soccer team, and soon after, he was able to join the Knights’ faculty staff.
We coached together and then became adversaries creating one of the top rivalries in the county that still exists today between Knights and Spartans. Both our programs took turns in dominating the South Hall Cup through generations of players. We played against each other during the week, and then became partners again coaching our daughters in club ball on the weekends.
We also played together on the GUTS adult team and officiated in the Georgia Mountains Soccer Association (Lanier Soccer). In the summer, we conducted youth camps on both ends of the county helping to guide future players into enjoying the world’s greatest sport.
Coach Jager had a great run at West Hall and established an impressive record. Some of the younger educators today refer to veterans as dinosaurs. This is a misguided dig that implies one is stuck to an old way of doing things and resists jumping on bandwagons that supposedly brags of new innovations and philosophies.
Education, either in the classroom or on the field, is like a novel. There are only seven different kinds of plots a writer can conceive. Something new is really something old, just with a new name.
Wolfgang Jager is no dinosaur. He is a seasoned veteran that knows the game, lives the game and has always loved the game. This old friend will be missed on the pitch, but he has established a legacy that is part of Spartan history and the community that will endure for some time to come.
Der Jager, you have pulled off the hat trick. Enjoy the retirement.
Mark D. Dunn