Emory & Henry College will pay tribute to one of its most successful football coaches Saturday, Oct. 4, during an official unveiling of the Lou Wacker Grandstand.
The tribute coincides with events on the same day that recognize Wacker and other former E&H football coaches -- the unveiling of a Coaching Legends Walkway and the naming of the entry plaza to the walkway for the beloved Thomas "Bingo" Fullerton.
Also, on Oct. 25, during its Homecoming Weekend, Emory & Henry will rededicate its football field as Nicewonder Field to honor members of the Nicewonder family for their outstanding philanthropic support of E&H athletics.
Wacker, who coached at Emory & Henry from 1982 to 2004, will be honored during a dedication that begins at 12:45 p.m. at Fred Selfe Stadium, just prior to a 1:00 p.m. football match-up between Emory & Henry and Randolph-Macon.
Wacker led E&H football teams to the NCAA Division III playoffs five times and to the DIII semifinals in 1987. Earlier this year, he was named to Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Former colleagues in the coaching field as well as many of his former athletes have praised Wacker for his ability to shape athletes into tough competitors as well as individuals of strong character.
In connection with this tribute to Wacker, College supporters have helped establish an area to celebrate its legendary coaches. Coaching Legends Walk, which is located just east of the grandstand in Fullerton Plaza, consists of plaques mounted on brick piers commemorating outstanding E&H football coaches: Fullerton, Casto Ramsey, Fred Selfe, and Wacker. The College will consider similar recognition for additional coaches in future years.
Fullerton, who served the college from 1914 to 1928, directed all the sports of the College, stressing rules of the game, sportsmanship and hard play. His athletes respectfully bestowed upon him the nickname "Bingo" for his frequent use of the term during practice drills.
Ramsey notched an 81-40-7 career record, which at the time of his retirement, accounted for the most wins in program history. Ramsey, who served at Emory & Henry from 1953 to 1968, coached eleven different players who earned All-America honors, four of whom were named to the All-America First Team.
Selfe, who worked at Emory & Henry from 1973 to 2003, will be forever remembered for his slogan, "Trust in your teammates; trust in yourself," and for the Fred Selfe Rock, a large piece of granite brought from Castlewood and placed on the east end of the stadium. The rock is a memorial to the man considered as "a rock" to those who knew him.
Under Wacker's leadership, 136 Wasps were named to the All-ODAC First Team, 36 earned All-America honors and five were chosen as ODAC Player of the Year. The 1987 Emory & Henry team reached the NCAA Division III semifinals while the Wasps of 1992 were among the final eight in the country.
From the final game in 1991 until the end of the 1998 season, Emory & Henry boasted a 37-game home winning streak, the longest in the country at the time.