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Jeff Wettach '79

Assistant professor of health and physical education, and head track and field coach for men and women

First year teaching at Luther: 1985

Personal training: Distance running, often with his wife, Barb.

Luther legacy: Has two daughters at Luther, Kelsey '09 and Lauren '10.

College cross-training: Played defensive back for the Norse football squad (and served 12 years on the teams coaching staff after he graduated).

Known as "Coach Dubs" to many students, Jeff is never far from cracking his signature broad smile. "My first priority in working with students is to create an atmosphere every day that's positive and upbeat, with a large dose of enthusiasm," he says. "I ask myself, 'What would I want to get out of this if I were on the team or in this class?.' We aim to have fun while training with a good purpose."

His knack for connecting with students--evidenced by the postcards, wedding invitations, and news clippings about post-college accomplishments pinned to his office walls--shines as he coordinates Luther's adaptive physical education class each semester.

He pairs Luther students "from all walks of campus" with 140 area elementary, middle-school, and high-school students with varying degrees of disability. The Luther mentors then spend the semester finding ways to make physical exercise meaningful for their partners, sometimes to develop gross motor skills and sometimes to encourage self-confidence and self-discipline.

"There are textbooks on the topic of adaptive P.E., and we could hold class in regular classrooms, but the hands-on experience is so much more valuable," he says. "You know there's some serious learning going on when a little boy who would cling and practically drown his mentor at the thought of swimming in the deep end of the pool is jumping off the diving board."

Jeff still identifies closely with the mentoring process, attributing his own professional success to the many relationships he forged as a student. "Every now and then, I ask myself, 'If I hadn't come to Luther, where would I be now?.' I'm proud to be a grad--a stroke of fortune put me here."