When Wolfgang Weber , a native of Frankfurt, Germany, vacationed in the United States in 1972, he decided if he ever moved to America, he'd want to live in the Southwest.
"Frankfurt is like Chicago or New York, a very big city," Weber said. "I was ready for a different experience, and Tucson offered that to me."
One year later, Weber, who had an apprenticeship as a chef in Germany, moved to Tucson and bought a coffee shop downtown (now Dizzy G's).
But, cooking and owning a cafe wasn't his passion. He wasn't sure what his passion was.
Then, he started coaching youth soccer.
Weber re-fell in love with the sport he watched as a child in Germany. In 1982, after serving as a youth coach for a few years, Weber was hired as Salpointe Catholic's first boys soccer coach.
"Nobody could have foreseen the success we were going to have over the next 30 years," Weber said.
You can say that again.
Tomorrow, Weber, now in his 30th year, will go for his fifth state championship when his Lancers play Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep in the Division II state championship game.
His remarkable career has produced a 547-82-15 mark and one of the state's best programs year-in and year-out.
"It's really delightful to see this group of players take their place in history," Weber said. "This group takes its place with some of the very best teams we've ever had here."
This year's Lancers are 24-2-1, have outscored opponents 115-15 and have posted 18 shutouts.
Junior Christian Garcia has a team-high 62 points on the season and is one of three players on the team with more than 20 goals.
"He is one of the top soccer players, at any level, in the state of Arizona," Weber said. "From the first day he has stepped onto the field, he has made a difference. In my opinion, he's a top-notch college prospect."
Of the 28 players on this year's roster, 20 of them will be back next year.
So will Weber.
The coach has had no thoughts of stopping and doesn't plan to think about it anytime soon.
"It will happen when it happens," said Weber, who also coached the semi-pro Tucson Amigos in the 1990s. "I'm not thinking about it at all. I'm really enjoying it and as long as I enjoy it and enjoy the interactions with my players, I'm going to keep doing it."
When he's not coaching the Lancers, Weber owns a business, Sportwise, a U.S. distributor of Italian sportswear.
He's also heavily involved with the Tucson Soccer Academy, serving as head coach of two teams.
"It's invigorating to be around the game," Weber said. "Sometimes, I have to pinch myself when I think about how far soccer has come in Tucson."
St. Gregory coach Patton honored
St. Gregory assistant boys basketball coach Darrell Patton was named one of 50 national finalists for the Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal Coach award.
Patton, who also serves as the director of the Tucson Magic Basketball Association, has helped lead the program to two state titles.
The award honors coaches for "serving youth in their communities through the Double-Goal Coach model of pursuing both wins and the even more-important goal of teaching life lessons through sports."
The winner will be announced later this month.