WIRTZ, JOHN J. (November 1, 1914 - August 20, 1992) outstanding football and basketball coach for many years at St. Ignatius High School, was born in Columbus, the son of Frederick and Barbara (Greene) Wirtz. He played football, basketball, and baseball at Columbus St. Mary high school and at the University of Dayton where he received his degree in business administration in 1938. He worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad and coached grade school sports in Columbus until 1940 when St. Mary's asked him to coach the school's football team. He left to enter the Army Air Corps during WORLD WAR II, attaining the rank of Captain and returned to St. Mary in 1946.
In 1948, he accepted a job at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland as the football line coach and track coach. Three years later, he was appointed head football and basketball coach and later became the school's athletic director. During his 28-year tenure at St. Ignatius his football teams won thirteen West Senate titles and three city titles and a co-championship; his basketball teams were champions of the West Senate eight times and won the city title once. Wirtz retired in 1976 with many honors and was inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
Wirtz met and married Joan Smith while serving in England during the war, and they had three children, Barbara of Phoenix, Arizona, Carol Wessel of PARMA and Joan of Cleveland. He died in Parma and was buried at Brooklyn Heights Cemetery.Last Modified: 28 Jun 2007 10:21:25 AM