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Houston Wheeler

Houston WheelerIt is with great sadness that we announce the death of Houston Wheeler, longtime Trinity baseball coach and devoted alumnus. Coach Wheeler died Friday, Dec. 24, he was 92.

Coach Wheeler guided the Tiger baseball team from 1963 to 1985. Trinity advanced to the NCAA playoffs in 1969, 1972, and 1973. The Tigers also won the Southland Conference Championship five times under Coach Wheeler's leadership: 1964, 1965, 1966, 1969, and 1973. He was elected SLC Coach of the Year in 1965 and 1968.

A major highlight occurred in 1972, when Trinity took the Texas Longhorns to 14 innings in the district playoffs, before being edged 4-3.

In 1999, Coach Wheeler was inducted into the inaugural Trinity University Athletic Hall of Fame. He was named Distinguished Alumnus in 1998 by the Trinity University Alumni Association.

Eight of Coach Wheeler's baseball players are members of the Athletic Hall of Fame, a number of whom went on to major league baseball careers.

Coach Wheeler graduated from Trinity in 1941 with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration. As a student-athlete, he was captain of the football team, and made all-conference in basketball.

He was head basketball coach and assistant football coach in the 1950s, and taught classes in the department of Physical Education until his retirement.

A tradition at the opening of the baseball season was to have Coach Wheeler throw out the ceremonial first pitch. He last threw out the pitch in February 2010. The catcher moved Coach closer to the plate, to ostensibly make it easier. But, Coach Wheeler moved back toward the pitcher's mound!

He was also a regular attendee at other Tiger sporting events.

"The Trinity baseball family has lost an icon," said Tiger baseball Coach Tim Scannell. "Our players loved to interact with him in the dugout, and learn the history of Trinity baseball. Coach Wheeler was a role model for me. He always had a great attitude."

Coach Wheeler is survived in San Antonio by a daughter, Meredith Wheeler and partner Squeeky Luce; great grandson Xander Engel, and his mother, Christy Engel; and a son-in-law, Earl Engel.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Jan. 8, in the Margarite B. Parker Chapel. Chaplain Emeritus Raymond Judd will officiate.

© 2010 Trinity University