Coach Oswald Receives the Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week Award

Caroline Gee

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     After a hard-fought win in week eight against Los Altos on Oct. 14, the 49ers Foundation awarded Tino head football coach Christopher Oswald with the Charlie Wedemeyer Memorial Coach of the Week award. The award was satisfying recompense after years of Oswald’s efforts to rebuild the football team.

     The 49ers Foundation named the award in honor of Charlie Wedemeyer, an acclaimed football coach at Los Gatos High School who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Despite being paralyzed except for his eyes, eyebrows and lips, Wedemeyer continued to coach football before passing away in 2010. Wedemeyer’s inspiring story and the personal connection that Oswald has with him makes the award even more significant.

     In 1998, Oswald was coaching a football game when Wedemeyer’s son approached him. “[Wedemeyer] was in a hospital bed with a respirator,” Oswald said. “He could barely move his eyes, lips and toe, but his son could read his lips, and I had a conversation with him.” 

     Oswald remembers how Wedemeyer even gave him advice during half-time. Said Oswald, “It was crazy. Anything having to do with him is pretty cool.”

     When Oswald first applied for the job of head coach at Tino, he only had to compete with one other person. “No one wanted this job,” Oswald reflected. “It was another guy and me. And I showed up in a suit and tie, and that guy showed up in a t-shirt with cut-off sleeves.”

     Seven years later, the Tino football team is currently 7-2 in their season and has experienced unprecedented success over the last few years. The Los Alto victory was especially rewarding; while middle school flag football players fuel the momentum of other schools like Los Altos, Oswald must develop Tino’s players from scratch.

“We had to change the perception of football around here, where obviously we are not going to have a [feeder] school where we can try to talk kids into playing,” Oswald said. “I think for a lot of the [sports] around here, people just need to be invited to do it.”

Along with increasing the number of players on the team, Oswald has implemented hours of intense training to improve his players. Said Oswald, “A lot of people don’t know we’re here four days a week in the summer, lifting weights and doing plyometrics, then coming back at night [for practice].”

This is the third time that Oswald has been given the Charles Wedemeyer award. Along with winning 1000 dollars for the Tino football program, Oswald earned two tickets to a 49ers football game on Jan 1, 2017. There, he will have the chance to watch the pregame and be recognized on the field along with nine other coaches who have likewise received the award.

     Although the accolade recognizes him individually, Oswald acknowledges that the award is a sign of a larger effort. Said Oswald, “[Whenever] one person gets an award, you know that it is a team thing, so to me, it is a reflection that we are doing things the right way and having success.”

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