Coach Wheels: On and Off the Field

Tuscarora football coach and teacher, Coach Wheels, gives insight to balancing both teaching and coaching as well as what he values most at Tuscarora.

Coach Wheels: On and Off the Field

By: Joey Hudson

Mr. Wheelbarger, better known around the school as Coach Wheels, works as both an English teacher and the head football coach at Tuscarora High School. During the course of his 12 years in teaching, Coach Wheels worked at Park View High School as well as Freedom High School before settling in at Tuscarora. 

He is a part of the English department teaching English 9 Honors as well as Creative Writing, Public Speaking, and AVID I. When asked what made Coach Wheels want to pursue a career in teaching, Coach Wheels mentions how he knew he wanted to become a teacher back when he was a Freshman in high school and that his love and passion for reading helped lead him to deciding to teach in English.

It’s not hard to see the level of dedication needed as Coach Wheels goes from presenting in front of a classroom all day to coaching his football team. Coach Wheels talks about his aspiration of still wanting to be a part of football, saying, “I have loved football my entire life and knew I wanted to give back to the game that gave me so much.”

He gives a lot of credit to his former coach for leading him to take up both being a teacher and coach. “I decided to come to Tuscarora to coach and teach because of my relationship with former teacher and coach, Adam Fortune. Coach Fortune was my former coach in high school and made a very big impact on my life. I wanted the opportunity to be around him as much as I could. Luckily, I was able to spend a year with him before he passed,” Coach Wheels says.

He notes that it was challenging in the beginning figuring out how to juggle both. “It was something I had to learn how to balance both ‘worlds’. I am very fortunate to have great assistant coaches who help me both in-season and out of season. I have also been very lucky to have mentors throughout my professional career that helped me create this balance as well.”

It is clear at this point that Tuscarora is home for this coach. “The relationships built in the classroom and on the football field are the most important and enjoyable parts of my job. Those relationships are the real ‘why’ to why I do what I do. I am very lucky to be able to live my passion each and every day,” he states.

Through his dedication to teaching and coaching, Coach Wheels continues to be a great attribute to the Tuscarora community and helps define what Tuscarora represents.