UVa-Wise physical education lecturer Bruce Wasem recently moved his office to Smiddy Hall, and he continues to share space with his longtime colleague.
Now in his 28th year teaching physical education at UVa-Wise, Wasem finds himself competing for recognition with his dog, Mosby.
Wasem grew up in Ohio and earned his bachelor’s degree at Bluffton College (now Bluffton University) and his Masters at Ohio State University.
Wasem originally chose to teach high school English and history because he wanted to coach sports but also had a passion for history, and teaching high school gave him a chance to explore both avenues.
After six years as a high school English and history teacher and 17 years teaching and coaching baseball and football at Wilmington College in Ohio, Wasem’s old high school coach and mentor Bill Ramseyer, told him to come coach at Clinch Valley College – now UVa-Wise. Ramseyer not only coached Wasem during high school and part of college, but also hired Wasem on at Wilmington.
“When he [Ramseyer] moved down here to start the football team, he asked me to come down and I came down and interviewed and I guess I passed the interview,” Wasem said, “I did enough I guess to get hired down here.”
Wasem built his coaching reputation at CVC/UVa-Wise, but he started getting friendly pressure to take on an additional colleague – a Skye terrier/chow mix now known across campus as Mosby.
“I got him when I quit coaching,” Wasem said. “Jean Good from the post office who works with PAWS was always hounding me, ‘when are you going to get a dog?’. I always said that I would get one when I quit coaching because the hours of coaching weren’t good to have a dog. As soon as I announced that I wasn’t going to coach anymore after that 2010 season, Jean starts sending me pictures saying ‘hey I found one for you’. She had actually found Mosby for me” Wasem said.
“He [Mosby] looked like a monster, his hair gets so long and he hadn’t been groomed properly, and the people were actually calling him Hairy,” Wasem said. Unfortunately, all of Mosby’s ‘hair’ had to be cut off then because it was so matted.
Although Wasem didn’t really grow up with dogs, his sister got a dog, Chewy, and he fell in love.
“I actually went with her to get her second rescue dog and he kind of adopted me too, I think,” Wasem said. “Whenever I go visit her, he sleeps in my bed and she gets jealous. I told her it’s because he sat in the car with me while she went in to get his license, and he just bonded with me.”
“We always had a steak fry at my house for the team and I was always walking around with Chewy and so the kids knew who Chewy was.”
Although Chewy would no doubt steal the hearts of many, it’s Mosby, who Wasem brings to campus every day, that has become a staple in many UVa-Wise student’s lives. Mosby is about eleven years old now and has been with Wasem for eight years.
“He’s kind of my therapy so, it’s really nice to have him around,” Wasem said. “He’s truly the best. He is very quiet and he was the nursing students’ tension relief when they had an exam.”
“I know that legally there’s something that says that I can’t have him but nobody has ever said anything and he really just helps me out and students come in here to see him when they miss their own dogs…He’s just really amazing,” Wasem said.