Oconto Falls posts football coaching position

School Board seeks teacher-coach, preferably with experience
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The Oconto Falls School District hopes to attract a teacher-coach to rebuild its football program starting next year.

Coach Barry Derickson submitted his resignation shortly after the Panthers’ 0-9 season ended with a 69-0 loss to Luxemburg-Casco.

Jerry Moynihan, athletic and activities director, told the school board he’s grateful that Derickson made his intentions known right away rather than wait until the busy hiring season at the end of the school year.

“This will be the third opportunity that I’ve had in my tenure to hire a football coach, and it’s the first time I think it’s the right time and situation,” Moynihan said.

He prefaced his remarks saying, “I’m not here to say anything bad about anybody; this is just information for us to talk about.”

The Oconto Falls football team has not had a winning record since 1998. The last time it came close to .500 was in 2011, when a touchdown on the last play of a second overtime ended their season at 4-5.

The Panthers have had four winless seasons in the last six years, going 1-8 in 2015 and 2-7 in 2016.

Moynihan said Green Bay West, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay East and Denmark are also going to be looking for new football coaches.

“We are competing with the other schools 30 minutes from us,” he said.

The ideal candidate will have a Wisconsin teaching license, experience in coaching high school football and expertise in strength and conditioning, Moynihan said.

“I think it’s so valuable that we get our football coach in the building — to be an educator, someone that understands how students work and that 15-year-old brain and how it’s churning,” he said.

The five coaches on this year’s team had only nine years of experience among them, Moynihan said. By comparison, the wrestling program that has produced state champions has three coaches with combined experience close to 100 years.

“It is a big job,” he said. “People don’t realize everything that a high school coach has to be able to do.”

Successful programs in the area and around the state have put an emphasis on strength and conditioning, he said.

“It is something that I think can help every one of our programs, from girls volleyball to football and everything in between, to have somebody that has that knowledge and that expertise,” Moynihan said.

School Board member Clint Gardebrecht asked if it would be possible to attract someone who will stay for 10 or more years, but Moynihan said that may be unlikely in today’s job environment.

“It would be perfect if every three years we had a new football coach, but that’s because they did such a good job that someone recruited him out of here,” Moynihan said. “That would be a great problem for us to have.”

School Board Vice President Jan Stranz said Moynihan has developed a good plan.

“We, by action a number of years ago, said we’re going to put some effort into football, and the evidence is right out here in this field,” Stranz said, referring to ST Paper Stadium down the hill from the district offices.

The board unanimously approved posting the position now.