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The retired coach says he'd love to help out somewhere

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Retired Gladstone football coach Jon Wolf rallies the troops following a home victory last fall. Wolf, 55, is leaving Gladstone after eight seasons as head coach, but he says hed like to continue teaching and coaching part-time somewhere.Jon Wolf, who announced his retirement from full-time teaching and coaching at Gladstone High School earlier this year, says he’d like to coach and teach “part-time” somewhere.

“I just want to be halftime,” Wolf said. “Teaching full-time and coaching was like working two full-time jobs. I want to work another seven to 10 years, I just don’t want to kill myself.... I can always sub. But I’d like to be an assistant coach and teach halftime, ideally at the same place.”

Wolf, who is 55, says he will retire from teaching weight training at Gladstone on June 9. He has also taught math and physical education classes at the school, and he’s run Gladstone’s popular movement dynamics agility and strength conditioning program from its inception.

Wolf, who has coached high school football for 32 seasons (including the last 17 as a head coach) says he’s been thinking about retiring from full-time teaching and coaching for sometime and he finally made the decision to do it after his father, Frank Wolf, passed away in December.

“Life is too short,” he said. “I’d like to spend more time with my family. I’d like to camp and fish a little more than I’ve been able to.”

Wolf’s varsity teams at Madison (1989-91), Putnam (1997-2002) and Gladstone (2006-13) had a combined win-loss record of 95-77.

He assisted Gery Weber two years at Gladstone before taking over as head coach in 2006.

And Wolf’s Gladstone teams had plenty of success, winning 61 of 91 games (.670), winning two league championships (2010 and 2013) and advancing at least as far as the state quarterfinals in five of his eight seasons as head coach (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013).

In 2010 Wolf’s Gladiators went 12-1, losing to Baker in the semifinals. It was the best record by a Gladstone football team since 1978, when Gladstone went 13-0 and won a state title, and it was the first time a Gladstone football team had advanced to the semifinals since 1987.

“I always felt like I had the best job in the state,” said Wolf. “The talent here has always been outstanding, the staff and the community have always been so supportive. This has been a phenomenal place to teach and coach. But it’s time to turn the program over to someone else and see if they can take it to the next level. And it’s time for me to see what else there is out there for me to do....

“I would love to teach weight training if I could. I also love teaching math. But it would have to be half-time, not spending so many hours at school. Between teaching and coaching, it wasn’t unusual for me to start work at 3:30 in the morning. And on practice days, I wouldn’t get home until 7 p.m. With our movement dynamics program, I was here for all but two weeks in the summer.”

Wolf helped start Gladstone’s movement dynamics program in 2005 and was instrumental in making it part of the curriculum.

“I’m proud of what we accomplished on the field, but I’m also proud of the movement dynamics conditioning program that we’ve developed here at Gladstone,” Wolf said. “It’s improved the strength, speed and work ethic of our athletes, not just in football, but in all sports.”

Wolf says one of his fondest memories was the 2006 season, his first season as head football coach at Gladstone.

“We went over and beat Newport and got to the quarterfinals,” Wolf said. “It was memorable because it changed the expectations of football here at Gladstone. We got to practice football on Thanksgiving and I was all fired up. Probably more so than the kids, because it was raining sideways.”

Wolf says the 2011 season is also memorable. La Salle beat his Gladiators for the league title, winning 36-34 on a fifth down play, when the officials lost track of downs during a last-minute desperation drive.

“I like the way we handled [the disappointing loss] as a program and as a community,” he said.

Wolf’s comments following the loss: “It was the officials’ job to keep track of downs and they screwed up. But the officials are human. They make mistakes, and there’s no instant replay….

“We’re real proud of our effort and we feel bad for our kids. But that’s life, and life isn’t always fair….

“The game was over when the refs ran off the field, and we’re not going to change anything by moaning and complaining.

“Like we tell our kids, ‘Life is 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 percent of how you react to it.’”

Look for Wolf to surface somewhere, teaching part-time, and perhaps helping coach a football team. He’s got a talent for working with young people that would benefit any high school program.

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