John Drager was so important to the athletic program at Mullan High School, among many other accolades they named the football field after him upon his retirement. The trophy case at Mullan Pavillion is filled with photos and memorabilia of a coach whose teams dominated from the mid-1960s until the late ‘90s.
Over his illustrious career, Drager’s teams went 229-51 in football and 467-205 in basketball. He coached 14 league title winners in both football and basketball – with five undefeated seasons in football – and six league title-winning teams in track before the school discontinued the sport.
Drager retired in 1997 after 32 years as head football coach and 28 years over two stints as head basketball coach.
Drager won back-to-back Idaho state football titles in 1983 and ‘84. Before Idaho implemented playoffs for high school sports, his teams in 1974 and ‘75 finished No. 1 in the state polls. He also sent numerous basketball teams to state.
He won Idaho coach of the year in 1983-84 and North Idaho coach of the year in 1983 and 1997. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Idaho State Activities Association upon his retirement in 1997.
Drager was inducted into the North Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003 and was a recipient of the Inland Northwest Sportswriters and Broadcasters 25-Year Award in 2009.
Drager attended Kellogg High School for one year before transferring to Wallace, where he was an all-league football and basketball player. He was inducted into the Wallace Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.
After graduating high school, he attended the University of Idaho on a football scholarship. He also played basketball at North Idaho College.
Drager started his coaching career as an assistant to Norm Walker at Mullan in 1963 and they won the state basketball title in 1964-65. That team was honored in 2003 as a “Legends of the Game” by the Idaho High School Activities Association.
He held so many responsibilities at Mullan that he even drove the team bus to all his away games and managed the swimming pool for more than 30 years.
The longtime football, basketball and track coach and athletic director at Mullan died on Feb. 26, 2022. He was 81.