The Green Bay Packers have announced that Adam Dow of Sparta High School in Sparta, Wis., has been named the Packers High School Coach of the Week. The program is presented by Buffalo Wild Wings.
Dow, in his fifth year as the head coach of Sparta, opened the season with his team on Friday, Aug. 26, with an emotional one-point victory on the road at Mauston High School, 28-27. Less than 24 hours prior to kickoff, Dow and his team learned of the tragic passing of junior tight end and long snapper JD Olson due to an automobile accident. Dow and his staff called a team meeting that Friday at noon to offer support and give his team the option of whether they wanted to play that night at Mauston.
"Ultimately our job, we always like to talk about the X's and O's as coaches, and you know, the wins and losses at the high school level, but ultimately our job is to take care of our kids," Dow said. "We called a team meeting and we had everyone come in. I said my piece on it and let them know that we were there to support them, but we also knew that ultimately playing that game had to be the kids' decision. Our job as coaches, whether we were in the mental state of coaching that night, our focus had to be on the wishes of our players. If they would've decided not to play or to postpone it, I would've respected those wishes."
Following the team meeting, the players decided they wanted to play that night to honor JD. As Dow and his team took the field at Mauston, they were greeted by both their traveling fans and the Mauston fanbase all dressed in Spartan red. Mauston team captains presented a No. 47 jersey, the number that JD wore, to the Spartans prior to kickoff followed by a moment of silence.
"All I can say, when it comes down to it, Mauston's coaching staff, their school, their players and ultimately their community, they were so gracious to us," said Dow. "To provide us with support and to go out of their way to just be kind to us and our program and our community, is something they didn't need to do, but it really speaks to their character. They're a class act and I really appreciate everything they did for us."
Following the game, the team stayed on the sideline for an additional 40 minutes to reflect and to be among family and friends. Dow and his staff let the players know that they were all in this together and it would take time to grieve the loss of their friend and teammate.
"[JD] comes from a great family, a very supportive family," said Dow. "He's a three-sport athlete; his love is baseball, but he also really enjoyed football and basketball. He was going to start at tight end and then was going to be our long snapper. He's hardworking and had a smile that would definitely brighten up any room. He was the kid that was always just a pleasure to coach."
Dow grew up in Stevens Point, Wis., and graduated from Stevens Point Area Senior High in 2001. Throughout high school, he participated in football, wrestling, and track & field. Dow played offensive and defensive line for Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame Coach Jerry Fitzgerald his junior year, and Coach Pete McAdams his senior year. He then went on to start at center for four years at UW-La Crosse, under Coach Larry Terry. Dow graduated from UW-La Crosse in 2007.
The first five years of Dow's coaching career began as an assistant coach for De Soto High School. In 2011, he transitioned to an assistant coaching position at Clear Lake High School. Dow remained at Clear Lake until 2015, when he took over an assistant coaching position at Sparta. Dow took over the head coaching position of the Spartans in 2018.
Dow and his staff oversee a program of 90 players, with 60 suiting up for the varsity game. His assistant staff includes Nick Kingeter, Buck Engel, Kyle Hutson, Mike Jones, Jordan Laufenberg, Larry Noll, Josh Lydon, Nate Pollnow, Bob Stuessel, Matt Garrett and Mitchell Roberge. In addition to coaching football, Dow is also an assistant principal at Meadowview Intermediate School in Sparta, Wis.
About the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week Program:
The Packers will recognize one outstanding high school coach as their 'Coach of the Week' winner during the 2022 high school football season. Winners are awarded several items and privileges, including a $2,000 donation to the school's football program from the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Wild Wings and the NFL Foundation, as well as recognition of the award on Packers.com, Wissports.net and Wifca.org. Nominations for Coach of the Week should be submitted by 10 a.m. every Monday to Ryan Fencl, Football Outreach Specialist, at email@example.com. Please include the nominee's name, address, school, phone number and reason he/she is deserving of the award.