October 19th, 2012

Hyland's Heroes: Tony Wagner

Kay Whelan

Staff Writer

Hyland's Heroes: Tony Wagner
photo from Tony Wagner

St. Patrick coach keeps family football tradition alive

The following feature is a part of a weekly series, sponsored by Hyland, Block & Hyland, called "Hyland's Heroes" - a set of profiles that will spotlight Louisville area Catholic volunteers, coaches and administrators who assist athletic programs and teams, and help promote excellence in all aspects of sports. Know someone that you think should be featured as the next "Hyland's Hero”? Send your recommendation to editor@catholicsportsnet.com.

Tony Wagner serves as the head coach for the 6th grade football team at St. Patrick School. All the CSAA teams are now gearing up for the play-downs to the Toy Bowl, so energy is high in the Wagner family.

Tony grew up attending and playing at St. Margaret Mary, and he attended St. Xavier HS, graduating in 1994. He clearly enjoys and loves the game of football. Now married to Kennetta, they are the parents of four active youngsters under the age of 10: Nick, Zane, Brock and Colt. With his children interested in everything from fall sports to summer waterskiing and everything in-between, St. Patrick is fortunate that Tony makes time to share his love for the game of football.

When and how did you get your start with the CSAA? Why so?

Formerly I played at St. Margaret Mary, then as an adult I coached at Margaret Mary for several years.  Later I moved to St. Patrick’s Parish and started the football program with my Father (Mike Wagner). 

Who asked you to contribute or what got you involved?

My Father and Brother were both at St. Patrick in 1998 and that was when I started coaching with them.

What sports did you coach and for how long?

I have coached football for eight years including two years at Trinity HS where I was the wide receivers coach for the freshmen team. I have also coached baseball at Middletown recreation.

What's the connection with your faith and giving your time to these young student athletes?

I have always loved the opportunity that coaching allows me to have with kids. It’s a great opportunity to help mold them into good young men. We have a stewardship project at St. Patrick called “Andy’s Run.”  This is a charity event I have hosted over the past 5 years in memory of my younger brother who passed away from a motor vehicle accident in 2007.

The run is hosted at Trinity High School each fall. All of the St. Patrick football teams participate where the boys earn their admission by doing a good deed for someone in their life. All of the money goes to several children’s charities such as: Indian Summer Camp for kids with Cancer, Kosair Children’s hospital, as well as children who have come from a situation of abuse. The past 5 years “Andy’s Run” has raised $90,000 dollars to help the above charities. I am very proud of this and it drives me to continue to help kids and teach my players about helping others in need.

Who was the most influential person on your coaching career? Why?

Definitely my Father! He has been coaching for 30 years in the CSAA and for the last 13 at Trinity High School. He has taught me all I know about football, as well as how to lead my life as a person who gives his time back to children both in coaching and mentoring. 

What are your major themes/principles as a coach?

Major themes I use as a coach is to have a very smart/tough team that understands how wonderful the sport of football is. I believe there is no better activity for a young man than football because it really teaches one how to deal with adversity. Most of these boys will not become professional athletes so the idea is to help shape them to become leaders of the community in the future.

What does coaching bring to you, your family?

Coaching brings my family an incredible bond. We are a football family from my wife down to my 11 month old. It has always been a part of our life and it really brings us closer together. Every great coach must have a great support system and my wife it the greatest support anyone could have. She really makes my job easy.

What are the fondest experiences or memories you have of coaching? 

Walking out on the field with my Father and my brother in the 1998 Toy Bowl at Trinity High School and winning it. Catching the winning touchdown pass in the 88’ Toy Bowl vs. St. Raphael. Lastly, I enjoyed beating St. X for the first time in 14 tries as a coach of the Trinity Freshmen team in 1999. I’ll never forget those moments.


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