Tribute to Coach Wilke

Nicholas Landing

In Tolleson, football is one of the most popular sports. Every Friday night fans fill the entire stadium and create an intense and live atmosphere just to watch our home team battle their opponents. The Wolverines are led by none other than Head Coach Jason Wilke who has just announced that next year he will be resigning from his position. He has been a coach at Tolleson for seven years so I myself figured that making this decision to leave must have been very difficult for Coach Wilke, but rather than assuming, I chose to ask him some questions about his resignation.

The first question that I asked Coach Wilke was: “What initially attracted you to Tolleson?” He explained that his reasoning was because he wanted to be around ‘neighborhood kids’, “I made the decision because if I’m going to miss time with my family, I want to be around neighborhood kids. Tolleson is a special place. The community and the kids care about the school. In Tolleson the ‘T’ means something.”

Wilke has always expressed the importance of football and how it builds characters so I asked him,“What does football mean to you?”

“Football has been my whole life since fourth grade. My high school coaches are what impacted me and I would not be where I am without them. Football is the reason I got through college. What I learn from the game I try to apply in life. Being a father I also try to instill what I have learned in my kids.”

When asked,“How has the football program changed since you have been here?” he had this to say, “I think our standards and expectations have grown in order to be a playoff team. In the last couple of years, the players have actually believed that we could be great. The belief in our own abilities has grown.”

As our conversation came to a close I asked, “What legacy do you believe you are leaving behind?”

“You know, Tolleson is a special place and friday nights I feel like we have made a good product and fun atmosphere. The biggest thing is watching the student body support grow over the years. We definitely had a home field advantage and that was pretty special to see. When you leave a school you hope that you see the results somewhere down the road. But I hope that I have relationships with former players and see them being great leaders in their communities and taking high positions in the business world.”

To end the interview I wanted to see what was next for Wilke. “Plans for the future?”

“I am probably going to go into athletic sales for the next four years while my son is in high school which will give me a more flexible schedule to be a dad. Coaching may still be in the plans but I still have an administration degree so I will be looking out for opportunities with that.”

As Coach Wilke moves on in these next couple of months, he will be remembered at Tolleson for the dedication he had to the game of football and the character he strives to build in every one of his athletes. Good Luck Coach Wilke.