Beloved men's soccer coach and Upper School history educator, Jerry Fleischhacker, retires after 29 years.
Known as “Coach Fly” to generations of LJCDS alumni, Jerry Fleischhacker is one of LJCDS’s biggest fans. He has been a beloved men’s soccer head coach and Upper School history educator for 29 years and will be retiring at the end of the 2019–2020 school year.
Mr. Fleischhacker is a legendary soccer coach. With 364 wins, he is the winningest soccer coach in school history and has never missed a game over 29 seasons of coaching. “I’ve played soccer my whole life and had many coaches, but none like Fly,” shares Diego Rovira ’00. “He cared so much about the players and the team. It was never about winning (though he liked winning), it was all about the journey in helping us grow up and become better people. He brought out the best in all of us.”
Mr. Fleischhacker joined LJCDS in 1991 when a position opened up for a men’s varsity soccer coach and chair of the history department. “Fly approaches every situation with a grounded enthusiasm—realistic, yet always pushing for the best,” explains Zack Wolfenzon ’09. “Everyone who’s taken a class with Fly comes out a better student. Everyone who's played for Fly comes out a better soccer player. Everyone who’s had a chance to know Fly is ever grateful to have him as a coach, teacher, mentor and friend.”
Described by his colleagues and previous students as intelligent, honest and LJCDS’s biggest fan, Mr. Fleischhacker has left a lasting impact. “Jerry is one of the best teachers LJCDS has ever had. He is extremely intelligent and truly cares about each and every student,” explains Robert Grasso, assistant director of athletics and physical education. “He loves LJCDS and has dedicated his life to our students.”
As a teacher-coach, Mr. Fleischhacker served as a mentor and friend to decades of students who have passed through LJCDS. From sparking spirited debates to hosting the popular annual alumni soccer game, Mr. Fleischhacker is an LJCDS legend who will be greatly missed in his retirement.
Mr. Fleischhacker also hosted “Fly’s Four on Four,” a soccer tournament open to LJCDS students, families, friends and alumni in which all proceeds went to the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF)—an organization that works to empower individuals with physical challenges through sport. Introduced to this foundation through passionate CAF supporter and LJCDS alumni, Danny Gabriel ’92, Mr. Fleischhacker’s event raised ample funds and awareness for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, as well as inspired LJCDS students for 10 years with influential and motivating stories from CAF athletes.
“Mr. Fly is one of those mentors you’re so lucky to get at a place like LJCDS,” shares Dennis Roth ’10. “In the classroom or out on the field, he challenges you by giving you the power to determine what type of student, athlete or person you want to be. I know that type of guidance was so helpful for me as I transitioned to college and beyond.”
Mr. Fleischhacker is a proud father of two lifers, Ben ’07 and Alex ’10, who attended LJCDS for 15 years each. During his retirement, Mr. Fleischhacker hopes to travel and eventually live in Europe for a few months.
“Students who graduated from here have frequently done really well, sometimes beyond our wildest expectations,” shares Mr. Fleischhacker. “And I do not mean only that they have great careers but also that they have become wonderful people. Knowing that you perhaps had a tiny bit to do with that outcome gives you a wonderful feeling, and when some thank you years later, it really makes your day.”