West Welcomes Wagner

New head football coach’s prior experience expected to ignite a spark within the WSH football community

Kendall Kaberle, Editor

  Recently, James Wagner, previously a coach at Summit High School in Breckenridge, Colo., has been hired to take the position of head football coach for the WSH football program. As the program has had its ups and downs over the past few years, it was time for a change in the way things are run. Wagner has had a successful background in coaching as he led his team in Colorado to victory for two seasons straight in 2021 and 2022. Not only has he been a coach for two teams in Colorado, but he has also coached at Gaylord High School in Michigan. For freshmen that have three more years left on the WSH football team, like Drew Esper, this fact brings a sense of hope and motivation to the players and the football community.

  “[My] hope is that we can change the program so that it is consistently feared by our opponents and respected by the whole state. I [also] hope that Coach Wagner brings a winning culture to the program and helps us believe we can beat anyone,” Esper said. 

  Not only has Wagner been chosen to lead the football teams in terms of strategic skill, but he has also been selected based on his ability to foster relationships with his players.

  “His passion and enthusiasm for the game of football is evident when you sit down and talk to him. Coach Wagner creates positive relationships with kids and will provide that energy we are looking for [to fill in the leadership position],” Athletic Director Jason Carmien said.

  Although Wagner will likely coach the football program for years to come, junior players, like Rocco Franco, only have one season left to experience his means of coaching.

  “It’s kind of a bummer [that we don’t get to have him for more than a year], but I’m going to make the most of it while I can and savor the experiences I can get,” Franco said.

  Going into the 2023-24 football season, it will be the 27th football season for the Titans and  Wagner will be the fourth head coach of WSH football. His previous record of being able to transform a team creates a great benchmark as the team welcomes him, hopefully being able to live up to the standards everyone is hoping for.

  “Our goals are to be a competitive member of the Saginaw Valley League and reach the later rounds within the MHSAA playoff system. [Not only do] we want all Titans to have a positive experience in our football program, [but we] want kids to live in exciting moments and [be able to] create memories,” Carmien said.