'He'd give you the shirt off his back and not allow you to give him your shirt.'
— Oak Creek AD Scott Holler on Terry Nachtigall
'He's loved by the guys ... if they're struggling with something (personal), they'll go to him. He's the dad figure; they'll talk to him.'
— Oak Creek wrestling coach Matt Sommerville, also on Nachtigall
One only has to take a quick look at the school website photo and the quick description of Meadowview Elementary School physical education teacher and Oak Creek assistant wrestling coach Terry Nachtigall to get an idea about what the guy is passionate about.
The photo of him is small, but his smile, the boat that he is sitting in and the lake that the boat is floating upon are all large.
And the description underneath the picture tells you the essentials of the man: 'I have been the physical education teacher at Meadowview for the past 18 years, and I am the varsity assistant wrestling coach at OCHS. I love to fish! GO PACK!'
Nachtigall got out of Froedtert Hospital sometime last weekend, and Sommerville was expecting a phone call from him within a few days.
'He's going to go stir crazy,' said Sommerville with a chuckle. 'He'll want me to take him fishing.'
Sommerville, Holler and Nachtigall's family are trying to convince this gentle, big man of how fortunate he is to even think about fishing.
That's because the genial, much-beloved Nachtigall, 47, will be off of school and away from the little smurfs in the school who love him so. He'll have to be taking home intravenous treatment and will be unable to drive a car for about 90 days.
He complained of not feeling well on the evening of March 12 and went to bed early, but at about 4 a.m. that morning, his wife Renee heard a loud thunk, as Terry had fallen out of bed with a seizure. His wife acted quickly in calling 911 and getting him to a hospital. There was a spinal tap, and then a harrowing few days followed.
According to the page that was posted on the Oak Creek wrestling team's website, this is what happened: 'As some of you may have heard, coach Nach was rushed to the hospital early Saturday morning and ultimately transferred to Froedert Hospital, being diagnosed with pnuemococcal meningitis.'
Then what follows is a CaringBridge post by a family member on his condition.
'I am very happy to report that Terry's condition is stable, and he has shown improvement since he was admitted to the hospital yesterday with pneumococcal meningitis, caused by a type of streptococcal bacteria ... while it is still very early, his prognosis is favorable. I will send out regular updates on his condition, so please continue to check CaringBridge often.
'Please keep Terry, Renee (his wife), Allison (his daughter) and family in your thoughts.'
Pnuemococcal meningitis is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia and is a cause of meningitis and other infectious diseases.
The following Wikipedia definition is why Sommerville, Holler and others want Nachtigall to take it seriously: 'As estimated by WHO (the World Health Organization) in 2005, it killed about 1.6 million children every year worldwide with 0.7–1 million of them being under the age of five. The majority of these deaths were in developing countries.'
The virus is found in the noses and throats of about 5 to 10 percent of healthy adults and 20-40 percent of healthy children.
Nachtigall was put on a ventilator for a few days, but the longtime wrestling assistant put a headlock on his condition and soon had it in a near-fall position.
'By Tuesday (March 15), he was up and talking a bit. His speech was a little slower than normal, but he was walking much more normally, and everyday it seemed he was getting closer and closer to what he was,' said Sommerville, who said as of last week, Nachtigall still had some vision problems on one side
The amazing thing is that this is not the first time Nachtigall has dealt with an issue in his brain. Sommerville said Nachtigall had a noncancerous brain tumor about four years ago, which he was able to recover from. Again, Sommerville tried to impress on Nachtigall the seriousness of his condition.
'His daughter was with me in the hospital looking very concerned when I was talking with him,' Sommerville said, 'but he's always had this attitude of 'This is not a big deal.' Terry has always had a very strong belief in God, and he said to me, 'God has a plan, and it doesn't include me dying of a brain tumor.''
Nachtigall has forever been the right hand of the wrestling program, dating back to the coach Jim Hauerwas days, and when he and Sommerville started the area's club program in 2005, he was its first coach.
Sommerville said the amount of support that has come in for Nachtigall from the wrestling community has been phenomenal.
'We all know what this is like,' Sommerville said. 'We all want to beat each other's brains out, but if something goes wrong for somebody, the support is usually tremendous. The other teams in the conference have really reached out to us.'
Sommerville and Nachtigall will likely go fishing as soon as the weather allows with the idea that Nachitigall will listen to his doctor, take his meds and simply let his body recover so he can be ready for the next school year.
Because Sommerville has a plan, too.
'It goes like this,' Sommerville said, 'I won't coach without him. When I'm done, he's done, and when he's done, I'm done.'
'I've known him since I was in school (at Oak Creek), and we were both involved in the track program. I was a distance runner, and he was the throwers' coach, but he'd always reach out to talk to me. You could tell he was a genuinely nice guy.'
—Holler on Nachtigall