St. Clair High School’s new press box was dedicated to the memory of former football coach Del Wachter Friday night, Aug. 24.
This season marks the 50th anniversary of Bulldog football. The program was started by Coach Wachter in 1968 with the community’s support. Wachter died in the 1980s.
On Friday, Wachter’s family members were honored with plaques and Bob Sullentrup, the Bulldogs’ first quarterback, shared memories about Coach Wachter.
Sullentrup said the Bulldogs went 6-2 in their first season. The team won against Owensville, which also started its football program that same year.
“It was important to Coach to win that game, the battle of the rookie teams,” Sullentrup said.
“He anointed linebacker Roy Branson to be the ‘Bloemke Kid,’ telling him ‘Every time the Dutchmen’s premier running back Bloemke moves, you hit him.’ ”
When the game was over, Sullentrup said he glanced at Bloemke.
“He was haggard and thoroughly worn out. The ‘Bloemke Kid’ had notched one for the red and gray.
Although Wachter died at the age 53, “Coach’s legacy lives on,” Sullentrup said.
He mentioned the status of his former teammates. Dennis Viehland, a former Bulldogs guard, earned a Ph.D. and taught technology in New Zealand.
Former fullback Darrell Lackey, served as the mayor in Wentzville. Former halfback, Danny Rampani, the first Bulldog to score a touchdown, moved to Hawaii where he became a general manager of a tree-trimming company, according to Sullentrup.
Gene Vogelgesang appeared History Channel’s “History IQ,” in the early 2000s.
“These are some of the lives Coach Wachter touched in one way or another,” Sullentrup said.
“While Coach was right, that you’ll get knocked down along the way, these examples illustrate that the futures of your current Bulldogs can be richer and more rewarding than you might be able to imagine right now.
“Coach’s legacy now reaches across the globe. Not bad for a hard-nosed, upstanding, bow-legged football coach who came to us from De Soto in 1968.”
In 2068, it will be the 100th anniversary of the football program, Sullentrup added.
“Somebody else will be praising their association with the St. Clair Bulldogs, because being a Bulldog is a magnificent thing,” he said.
“It always has been and it always will be.”
New Press Box
The new press box was recently completed, which now stands on west side of the football turf. The former press box was demolished in December due to structural issues.
The new press box consists of three levels: a bottom storage unit, a ground level floor for the PAs and an upstairs area for coaches, mechanical storage and more.
FGM Architects developed the design plans. In May, the school board hired Jay Rice Contracting to build the press box in the amount of $128,100.