Chris Wenzler, the selfless leader of John Carroll University’s Sports Information Department for more than 30 years, died on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 following a two-and-a-half year battle with multiple myeloma. He is survived by his wife, Melissa (Rettew) Wenzler ‘91, and children, Madeline and Oliver. They are joined by the thousands of “Wenzler’s Warriors” who supported Chris throughout his cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Click here for details on the celebrations to honor Wenzler, including a car processional through JCU's campus at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 28, a live-streamed funeral on Monday, June 29, and the Chris Wenzler Memorial Fund.
A tireless promoter of John Carroll University and its student-athletes, Wenzler’s legacy in University Heights began as an undergraduate, where he studied Communications, honed his writing skills at The Carroll News, and continued the family legacy started by his father, Martin Wenzler ‘64.
He was named to the Sports Information post just four months after receiving his diploma in 1990, and quickly became a fixture in the athletic department. In August 2008, Wenzler was given additional responsibilities as John Carroll’s first Assistant Athletic Director for Communications. For his extraordinary efforts on behalf of JCU Athletics and his service to John Carroll and its students, he was elected to the JCU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019.
His contributions to John Carroll pale in comparison to his role as a mentor to hundreds of student workers who count him as a teacher, advocate, confidant, and friend.
When Wenzler took over the sports information office on September 15, 1990, the staff consisted of just three students and the office equipment included just one computer (an Apple Macintosh SE), a dot matrix printer, a typewriter, and a phone. Melissa often served as an extra set of hands.
Over the last 30 years, he built an office that now boasts more than 40 student employees, a graduate assistant, and the latest in multimedia and technological equipment.
In recent years, Wenzler pushed John Carroll athletics into the realm of multimedia opportunities. In 2006, he became one of the first sports information directors at the NCAA Division III level to implement a 40-event video webcast schedule for the internet. He was also proactive in securing a multi-sport broadcast schedule with SportsTime Ohio that started in the fall of 2007. In 2013, Wenzler advanced JCU's video offerings through a partnership with Boxcast for the streaming of athletic events.
While his work has impacted thousands of student athletes, employees, and colleagues, a particular point of pride for Wenzler was his service work. He joined nine immersion trips as a staff member at John Carroll including Jamaica (five times), Ecuador (three times), and Guatemala. On campus, he spearheaded Streaks to the Max, in partnership with Max Cure Foundation. Each year, the events bring together the creative efforts of student athletes to raise money for families affected by pediatric cancer.
Born in Seattle, Washington, on November 7, 1967, Wenzler made many stops before settling in Northeast Ohio, including Seal Beach, CA, Glendale, MO, Maumee, OH, El Paso, TX, Allison Park, PA, Harvard, MA, and Williamsburg, VA.
A car processional through campus will take place on Sunday, June 28 at 3 p.m. Individuals must remain in their vehicles. Please follow directional signage and instructions from JCUPD and employee volunteers.
A live-streamed funeral will take place on Monday, June 29 at 11 a.m. Visit the McMahon-Coyne-Vitantonio Funeral Homes Facebook page to view the service.
In lieu of flowers, the Wenzler family is requesting contributions to the Chris Wenzler Memorial Fund which will support students traveling on immersion trips at John Carroll University.