The Packers have announced that Aaron Kraemer of Rhinelander High School in Rhinelander has been named the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week. The program is presented by Jack Link's Protein Snacks.
Kraemer, in his first year as the varsity head coach of Rhinelander, led the Hodags to a 31-13 victory against Wausau East on Friday, Sept. 13. Each team entered the contest unbeaten at 3-0. With the win, Rhinelander starts the season 4-0 for the first time since 1974. Rhinelander looks to remain perfect on the season as they face another tough test, traveling to Medford High School to take on the also undefeated Raiders, on Sept. 20.
Kraemer knew they would be facing a challenge heading into the game against the Lumberjacks.
"The game plan was to control the football and stop their running game," Kraemer said. "Our offensive line handled the challenge this week by taking on their big guys up front. When we watched the film, I thought that they were a big group of kids, and our kids kind of neutralized their strength. Defensively, it was shutting down one of the best rushers in the state. So we had to game plan against that, and our guys stood up to the challenge. [Our defense] turned the ball over a few times early in the game against Wausau East and that gave us some momentum. We were able to weather the storm against them late in the game, and I was proud of the way they responded to that adversity and were able to close out the fourth quarter."
Kraemer grew up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he graduated from Oshkosh North High School in 2007. Throughout high school, he participated in football, baseball, and swimming for the Spartans. Kraemer played center under head coach, Chris Kujawa. Following high school, Kraemer went on to play left guard at Lakeland University for head coach, Kevin Doherty, and graduated from Lakeland in 2012.
Kraemer began his coaching career in 2012 as an assistant coach for Lakeland. After two years of coaching for the Muskies, Kraemer took an assistant coaching position under head coach, Chris Ferge, at Rhinelander High School. This past April, Kraemer was named the head coach of the Hodags.
Kraemer hopes this award is just the start of great things to come for the Hodags.
"For our football program, it means a lot about where we're going as a team," Kraemer said. "As we go further in the season, I hope that this type of recognition, and recognition for players of the week, continue to motivate us, and make us want more. As a team, we should be proud of all of the nominations and awards that we receive, but there's a lot of season left for us to play and we want to remember that there are a lot more goals that we set out to accomplish."
Kraemer is honored to receive the Coach of the Week Award, but is quick to attribute it to those around him.
"For me personally, it's a great honor, but it wouldn't mean anything to me if I didn't have a great coaching staff and amazing family and support system. They have helped me through some difficult years, and provided me an opportunity to coach these guys. I love them all a ton, and it was a big leap for our school to pick somebody who was on staff the year before. For them to believe in me, it means everything.
Kraemer and his staff oversee a program of 63 players, with 42 of them suiting up for varsity games. His assistant staff includes Jarod Benrud, Paul Ellenbecker, Chris Ferge, Tyler Figueroa, Taylor Kloehn, Jeremy Monk, Jim Moore, Cole Oettinger, Mike Roberts, Matt Steingraber, and Gary Zarda. In addition to coaching football, Kraemer is also a social studies teacher at Rhinelander High School. Kraemer and his wife, Kathryn, have one daughter, Clara.
About the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week Program:
The Green Bay Packers Coach of the Week program, presented by Jack Link's Protein Snacks, supports football outreach efforts by giving high school coaches the recognition they deserve. On a weekly basis, for ten weeks throughout the high school football season, the Packers will select one high school coach as the Coach of the Week. Each honoree will be awarded several items and privileges, including a $2,000 donation to the school's football program from the Green Bay Packers, Jack Link's Protein Snacks and the NFL. Winning coaches will also receive recognition on Packers.com, WisSports.net and Wifca.org, and will be mentioned in the Packers Gameday program.
Nominations for Coach of the Week should be submitted by 10 a.m. every Monday to Ryan Fencl, Football Outreach Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the nominee's name, address, school, phone number and reason he/she is deserving of the award.