Wulf, James Robert “Coach”

P.E. Teacher And Coach At Red Bank Middle School For Over 2 Decades

  • Monday, May 20, 2024
James Robert “Coach” Wulf
James Robert “Coach” Wulf
James Robert “Coach” Wulf passed away on May 15, 2024 at the age of 70.

Jim was born during a snow storm in Western New York that prevented his parents from bringing him home for several days until the driveway could be plowed. Thus began Jim’s love of winter weather.

Jim attended Lancaster, NY schools. His fourth grade Ukulele Club was so influential, he continued singing with his ukulele for birthdays, holidays, talent shows - almost daily for the rest of his life. Jim excelled in athletics and received numerous awards, including the Billy Kelly Scholar-Athlete Award. He also was named Division All-Star for two years as well as All-Western NY in football. Not surprisingly, Jim was also awarded the Tomahawk Award for hardest hitter. He also was a region and section wrestling champion for Lancaster High School. In 2013, Jim was inducted into the Lancaster High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Jim was awarded a full football scholarship to Marshall University in Huntington, WV. He was a proud member of the “Young Thundering Herd”, working to rebuild the football program following the devastating plane crash in 1970. “Bam Bam” became his nickname due to his blonde bowl-cut hair. During his time at Marshall, Jim met his future wife, Susan, during an evening art class that he didn’t need to take. They married soon after and welcomed their son Matt a year later. Jim graduated from Marshall with a BS in Health and Physical Education.

Coach Wulf began his teaching and coaching career in Kentucky at Catlettsburg Junior High and Boyd County High School, where he coached junior high and high school football and was head coach for the Boyd County High School Wrestling Lions for seven years.

Jim and his family moved to Western, NY, for several years where Jim worked as a recreation director for Wyoming Correctional Facility and Attica Maximum Security Prison. Jim won a Greco-Roman wrestling title involving NY state correctional facility staff the day after being hospitalized for a kidney stone. Jim also had a very enjoyable part-time job milking cows.

Jim and his family then relocated to Tennessee, where he was a landscape foreman for Signal Mountain Nursery, a job he truly enjoyed. When a teaching and coaching opportunity opened at Red Bank Middle School, Jim couldn’t pass it up. Coach Wulf proudly taught boys physical education and coached for over two decades. The Red Bank Middle School faculty was truly a family to Jim and he was voted Teacher of the Year by his peers. He especially enjoyed teaching his exceptional education students and was proud to work with the Special Olympics, remaining pals with many of his students as they became adults. Jim coached football with his dear friend Skipper Fairbanks; Skipper was the brains and Jim was the brawn. Coach Wulf’s wrestling teams won seven HCAC championships, with several of his wrestlers going on to college success and coaching careers. Jim could often be heard yelling from the high school football bleachers, “Get ready to hit somebody!” and his former players knew immediately that Coach was in the stands.

After retirement, Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, which he fought with his “never give up” attitude. Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s became his source of support, exercise, and acceptance. Missing a Rock Steady class was never an option.

Jim was a true giver and role model, doing what was needed with no expectation of recognition. He was dedicated and honorable in his coaching, teaching, and with his family. Jim demonstrated his love of Christ by his actions and kind words. He did not preach his faith, he lived it.

Jim was preceded in death by his mother, Shirley Woodman Wulf, father, Robert Leon Wulf, and brother, Daniel Wulf.

Jim is survived by Susan, his wife of 47 years, son, Matt, and grandchildren, Alexis and Noah Wulf. The oldest of five siblings, Jim is also survived by his sister, Nancy Wulf Paradise (Angelo), brothers, Tom Wulf (Kathy) and Paul Wulf (Kathy), his lifelong friend, Keo, as well as wonderful nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be on Friday, May 31, from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday, June 1, from 1-4 p.m. immediately followed by a memorial service at Chattanooga Funeral Home, North Chapel, 5401 Highway 153, Hixson, Tn. 37343.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Coach Wulf’s name may be made at rocksteadyboxing.org or michaeljfox.org

Arrangements are by the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory, and Florist, 5401 Highway 153, Hixson, Tn. 37343.

Please share your thoughts and memories at www.chattanooganorthchapel.com

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