Russ Wenzlau

Russ Wenzlau, Hall of Fame Coach

Russ Wenzlau, Hall of Fame Coach

From 1955 to 1969 Russ Wenzlau was the right-hand man as defensive coordinator to successive Santa Barbara City College head football coaches Bud Revis, Chuck Rheinschmidt and Bob Dinaberg. Wenzlau assisted Revis in forming the first football team at SBCC in 1955 where the program struggled in the early seasons with low player turnout – sometimes as few as 17 athletes at a garne. Wenzlau and Revis persisted and finally began to attract some quality athletes.

In 1967 with Rheinschmidt as head coach, Wenzlau and the Vaqueros won their first South Central Conference championship and were invited to play in the Sequoia Bowl. Winning their second conference championship in 1964 was particularly special to Wenzlau as his son, Bruce, was a member of that team.

In 1969, Dinaberg’s first year as head coach, the Vaqueros beat nationally ranked Ventura College in a come-from-behind 18-17 victory to win the Western State Conference championship. Wenzlau notes this win as a perfect ending to the football season and his 14-year tenure as defensive coordinator for the SBCC football team. For 10 of those 14 years, Wenzlau was also chairman of the Physical Education Department and served on the committee that approved the plans for the SBCC Sports Pavilion. Wenzlau’s first coaching responsibilities at SBCC were as the track coach from 1954 to 1962 during which his teams won three conference championships. He also helmed the men’s basketball team in 1958 and 1959.

After retiring from coaching, Wenzlau joined the SBCC administrative staff as the Assistant Dean of Instruction for the Evening College and Summer Session. He continued serving the college in this capacity until his retirement in 1977.

Among Wenzlau’s proudest achievements are earning a master’s degree in education from Stanford University and serving as a World War IT pilot in the Army Air Corps. He notes that he finds the greatest gratification over the years has come from the letters and phone calls of former players who thank him for his direction and encouragement. Wenzlau taps his greatest influences as his father Russell, Lyle Reynolds, his faculty advisor at UCSB and Bud Revis, who first hired him in the SBCC athletic department and is his best friend.

Wenzlau lives in Santa Barbara with his wife Carol.