2014 Jim Hauerwas Oak Creek-Whitnal (Small).jpgJim Hauerwas was born in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, the oldest of four children and raised on a farm by Alfred and Eleanore Hauerwas. Jim graduated from Oak Creek High School in 1972 where he competed in football, wrestling, and track. Jim began his wrestling career at the Oak Creek Junior High School when his physical education teacher recruited boys for the wrestling team. Jim’s teammate during junior high and high school was Hall of Famer and 1976 NCAA Champion Pat Christensen. After high school graduation, Jim received a football scholarship and attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He was a three-year letter winner and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education in 1977.

Jim’s coaching career began at Whitnall High School where he served as a freshman football coach. At the end of football season, Principal Larry Jansky asked Jim take on the responsibility of head wrestling coach. During his second year at Whitnall, Hall of Famer Don Yahr was named principal at Whitnall. Jim credits Don’s mentoring of him by teaching him how to organize and run a detailed and “no wasted time” wrestling practice. Jim would like to thank his assistant, Bruce Tonsor, for his friendship, help, and support while at Whitnall.

In 1979 and hired by Principal Irv Smith, Jim returned to Oak Creek High School to teach and coach. He graciously thanks Athletic Director Jerry Anstett for allowing him to build the wrestling program in conjunction with coaching football. Jim spent 30 years in the wrestling room and 14 years on the football field. Jim worked as an assistant wrestling coach for two years prior to taking over the program as head wrestling coach in 1981. The Oak Creek Knights had not won any wrestling tournaments in 25 years. Finally, in 1983, Jim’s team won its first team title since 1967. The Knights were 3-7 in their first year, improved to 9-1 in the second year and sent two wrestlers to the state tournament. During the 1980’s, Jim worked tirelessly to gain support for the school’s wrestling program. In 1990, Oak Creek won its first conference championship. 1990 was a pivotal year; the conference title was the impetus for the program to gain success and respect in the Southeast Conference.

In his 32 year career at Oak Creek and Whitnall, his teams have posted a record of 312-150-2, winning 52 team tournament titles, 5 conference titles, 9 regional titles, and 5 sectional championships. Oak Creek appeared in four Team State appearances: 1996, 2003, 2004, and 2007. Jim has had the privilege of coaching 37 conference champs, 70 state qualifiers, including his son, Jordan, 18 state place winners, 3 state finalists, and 1 state champion, Joe Aperi, in 1992. Jim was nominated six times for the District 7 Coach of the Year award and won in 1990, 1996, and 2004.

Jim was so proud to host the Oak Creek Invitational, WIAA Regionals, Sectionals, and Team Sectional tournaments. One of Jim’s proudest accomplishments is when his 1996 team won the WIAA Team Sportsmanship award at the 1996 State Team Tournament. Numerous Oak Creek wrestlers have been named Southeast Conference All-Division and two wrestlers were named Conference Wrestlers of the Year. Jim was honored to have his son become a member of the Crossface All-State Academic team and help send many wrestlers on to college to participate in wrestling. In Jim’s words, “The sport of wrestling has given me many great opportunities and a lifetime of fulfilling memories shared with family, wrestlers and their parents, my fellow wrestling and football coaches, peers, and community.”

Jim has surrounded himself with great assistant coaches that have dedicated themselves to the success and continuance of the rich tradition of wrestling in Oak Creek. Coaches Al Hilgendorf, Dan Small, Terry Nachtigall, and Matt Sommerville were instrumental in Jim being honored by this Hall of Fame award. Jim thanks these gentlemen for their friendship, dedication, and support over 32 years. He extends warm wishes to Matt Sommerville, current head coach and 4th place finisher in the 1996 state tournament, as well as Terry Nachtigall, assistant coach, as they continue to lead the Knights into the future.

Jim retired from teaching and coaching in 2011 and resides in Naples, Florida, with his wife of 30 years, Linda, also a teacher in Naples, Florida. Her support, sacrifices, encouragement, and love during Jim’s coaching career were evident with attendance at meets and bringing their children to see their dad. Jim is so proud of his two children. His daughter, Betsy, is a nurse practitioner at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Jim’s son, Jordan, is an accountant at Ernst and Young, Milwaukee. Jim would like to thank these beautiful children who supported him by being patient, giving, and accepting of his career.