Mike Wacker Named Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Texas Lutheran

Photo Courtesy Texas Lutheran Basketball

Mike Wacker, the head coach who brought record excellence to the Converse Judson High School boys basketball program, is returning to his roots as the new head men’s basketball coach at Texas Lutheran University, TLU President Dr. Stuart Dorsey announced Thursday.

“We’re delighted that Mike Wacker is coming home to Texas Lutheran,” Dorsey said. “He spent much of his childhood on campus when his legendary father, Jim Wacker, took the Bulldogs to consecutive NAIA national football championships.”

“Mike has achieved great coaching success in his own right and is widely recognized as one of the state’s top high school basketball coaches over the last 25 years. Mike’s return will build even more excitement around a basketball program that already has great momentum.”

Wacker succeeds Jimmy Smith, who resigned from TLU last week to take an assistant coaching position at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

Smith coached the Bulldogs for two seasons and led TLU to two Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season titles, to consecutive SCAC Tournament Championships, and to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship (first round).

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of the Bulldog family,” said Wacker. “It is a privilege. I am humbled. I definitely feel a great sense of responsibility to be the next coach at Texas Lutheran.”

“After 26 years as part of the Judson community, I felt that this was just a unique opportunity to coach at the college level and in a place that has so much energy and optimism. I am looking forward to building on the success of Coach Smith and helping Bulldog Basketball to be the best it can be.”

Wacker coached for 26 years at Judson and went 703-196 (a winning percentage of .782). He led the Rockets to 25 state playoff berths and three appearances in the UIL Boys Basketball State Championship. His Rocket teams for 1992-93 and 2013-14 finished as the state runner-up and his 2000-01 team made it to the state semi-finals.

At Judson, Wacker averaged 27 wins per season and had 26 consecutive winning seasons. He was inducted into the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and a coach on May 21, 2011.

Judson won 13 district championships, including six straight, with Wacker. Three times he was named the San Antonio Express-News Greater San Antonio Coach of the Year.

Wacker already is familiar with several members of the TLU Athletics staff. Director of Athletics Bill Miller was on the Judson athletics staff as head baseball coach when Wacker began his high school coaching career with the Rockets. (Miller also was a player for Jim Wacker on TLU’s two national title football teams.) TLU Head Football Coach Danny Padron served as an assistant football coach at Judson and worked with Mike Wacker in the early 1990s.

“The last two years of TLU Men’s Basketball have been incredible, and I strongly believe that hiring Mike Wacker will help us continue that momentum and also get us to the next level,” said Miller. “I had the privilege of coaching with Coach Wacker at Judson with Coach D.W. Rutledge. I know what Coach Wacker brings to the table. His excitement and enthusiasm are legendary.”

“He is part of a coaching legacy. There is no doubt he knows how to win. However, he also coaches for the right reasons. His care and concern for his players are an important part of his coaching success. If I had a son who was good enough to play basketball at the college level, I would hope that he would get the opportunity to play for Mike Wacker. We are extremely excited that Mike Wacker is now a TLU Bulldog.”

Wacker, 54, was a first-hand witness to some of the best moments in TLU Athletics history. He watched his father, the late Jim Wacker, coach Texas Lutheran Football to NAIA-II National Championships in 1974 and 1975.

Jim Wacker would go on to win two NCAA Division II National Championships at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University – San Marcos). He also had coaching stops at North Dakota State, Texas Christian University, and the University of Minnesota, and he served as the director of athletics at Texas State.

“For our Wacker family, Texas Lutheran is where it all began,” said Mike Wacker. “Forty-five years ago, our family arrived in Seguin on the campus of Texas Lutheran. My dad was able to find a place where his energy and excitement could truly help Texas Lutheran Football go to the highest of heights.”

“I was around eight years old, and I have nothing but the fondest of memories of the overall enthusiasm and the commitment to excellence that the entire Bulldog athletic program experienced over those wonderful years. Our family benefited from the leadership of President Joe Menn and Athletic Director Kieth Skogman, and I feel thankful to be a part of Dr. Dorsey and Bill Miller’s vision of excellence here at TLU. It was a special time then, and I am truly excited to be a part of this special time now. It is an honor for my wife Susie and me to be a part of Bulldog pride.”

Wacker is a 1985 graduate of the University of Texas, where he earned All-Southwest Conference First Team honors and was named to the UT/HEB “All-Time Texas Basketball Team.” He was inducted into the University of Texas Athletic Hall of Honor in 1999.

In 1984-85, Wacker led the Longhorns in scoring, rebounding, minutes played, and field goal percentage, and he finished his career as the Longhorns’ career leader in field goal percentage. He was a team captain and voted his team’s Most Valuable Player. Wacker was given the Bill Henderson Sportsmanship Award.

Prior to a knee injury he sustained in the 1981-82 season, Wacker and legendary coach Abe Lemons led Texas to a 14-0 start and a No. 5 national ranking. In a road game against the University of Houston’s famed Phi Slama Jama (with future Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler), Wacker scored 32 points.

Wacker played in the 1981 United States Olympic Festival and teamed with Michael Jordan on the South Team.

After his collegiate playing days at Texas, Wacker was selected in the seventh round of the 1985 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz.

Wacker graduated from the University of Texas in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, with a minor in History. In 1987, he received a Master of Science degree in Education from Southwest Texas State University.

For the 1985-86 season, Wacker worked as an assistant coach at Southwest Texas State. From 1986 to 1990, he was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the University of Texas at San Antonio.

With the Roadrunners, Wacker was part of UTSA’s first NCAA Tournament team. In his final year with UTSA, the Roadrunners went 22-7 and posted the best start to a season in school history.

Wacker and his wife, Susie, are the parents of three boys: Chris (25), Karl (23) and David (20). Mike’s mother, Lil Wacker Hageman, lives in nearby San Marcos.

“My mother is as excited as anybody,” said Mike Wacker. “I know she is really thrilled for us to be here.”


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