Dyer Straight: Legendary Moeller wrestling coach leaves post after 29 years

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Dyer Straight

By Mike Dyer

Gaier has led Crusaders wrestling program for over half its existence

Jeff Gaier had been contemplating retirement from coaching the past two or three seasons and finally felt this past March was the right time.

The Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller High School coach of 29 years announced his retirement from coaching on March 12, but the school wants to recognize all his career highlights and the impact he’s had.

Dyer-ColumnThat’s why the Moeller athletic department will recognize the 54-year-old Gaier on Monday night (April 21) at 6 p.m. and is asking all Moeller wrestling alumni to join in the special ceremony.

Gaier, who will be 55 in July, isn’t one for attention – although his program certainly earned it under his guidance over the years. To put his coaching career in perspective, wrestling has been a varsity sport at Moeller the past 51 years. Gaier has led the Crusaders the past 29 years.

He said the impact he had on high school wrestlers is what he is most proud of. “It really, really means a lot,” he said. “That’s really cool.”

His resume is jam-packed with awards and titles.

Moeller was a state runner-up three times (2007, 2001 and 2000). The program had 15 top-10 finishes. There were 12 state individual champions. There were 166 state qualifiers.

The list goes on and on. Eleven district championships and 18 sectional titles.

“The achievements have been incredible,” said former Moeller athletic director Dick Beerman, who is the archivist for the school’s athletic department.

Gaier, who works in the IT department for the school, says he will continue to assist the program in any possible.

“Jeff has had a long and distinguished career,” Moeller athletic director Mike Asbeck said in March. “…That being said, Jeff is not going anywhere. Jeff will be staying on in his technology role and will be a sounding board for me and future coaches.”

Asbeck last week named James Yonushonis, who was the Bishop Ready coach the past two seasons and a former All-American at Penn State.

Yonushonis will teach social studies at the school.

“I think it’s a great choice,” Gaier said. “…As important as his wrestling knowledge, he is a great individual.”

Yonushonis said he’s quickly learned about the Moeller program and is grateful to be a part of it. He said during this week’s spring break he wants to continue the strong tradition.

Moeller expects to return plenty of talent and that figures to be led by Jacoby Ward, who will be a junior after he was fourth at state this season at 132 pounds.

“From the beginning I want to establish these four characteristics – faith, humility, perseverance and brotherhood, which are absolutely crucial in helping us achieve our goals,” Yonushonis said.

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