YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Chuck Wichert resigned Wednesday as head coach of Yokota’s U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League team.
A staff sergeant assigned to Yokota’s 374th Operational Support Squadron as an air-traffic controller, Wichert is transferring to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, at the end of the month.
Wichert also won’t be able to make the Raiders’ road trip to Okinawa next week for an Aug. 9 game against Courtney-Hansen and Aug. 13 date with Futenma, both at Camp Courtney, so “it’s in the best interest for myself and the team to resign,” he said in an e-mail Wednesday.
Jason Wolff, an assistant coach, will serve as interim head coach until Aug. 21, when Wichert’s designated full-time replacement, Ricardo Young, returns from temporary assignment.
Wichert replaced Joe Howell as head coach last July amid a time of turmoil for one of Japan’s anchor teams in interservice football. Howell, who became league commissioner this season, had stepped down for personal and duty reasons.
Less than a week after taking over, Wichert suspended Raiders operations for the rest of the 2002 season. At the time, the team was 0-4 and ravaged by deployments and a lengthy runway closure that displaced up to 75 percent of its players.
Yokota returned this year but again got off to a shaky start, losing its first three league games and suffering a 90-12 rout on June 22 against Japan’s national team at Kawasaki Stadium.
The Raiders won their next two games, including a 23-18 home victory over Kadena on July 16 — Wichert’s last game with the team.