The Packers have announced that Chad Hanson of Altoona High School in Altoona, Wis., has been named the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week.
Hanson, in his third year as head coach of the Railroaders, has his team out to a 3-1 start this season. Hanson took over the program in 2019 as the team was coming off a 1-8 season. In his first two years as head coach, the team had a total of two wins. However, coming out of a year marked by COVID-19, Hanson has the Railroaders out to a promising 3-1 start. This past Friday, Hanson and his team defeated the Baldwin-Woodville program, 30-21. The last time the Railroaders met Baldwin-Woodville was in Level 1 of the modified 2020 WIAA postseason, in a game they lost 50-6.
Since taking over as head coach of the Railroaders, Hanson has continued to improve his players both on and off the field as they look to turn their program around.
"It goes back to 2019, when I got hired here in Altoona, we made a focus on building the culture of our program," Hanson said. "Our program culture is based on being the best version of you at home, in school, in the community, in athletics—meaning being a multi-sport athlete—and in the weight room. If we focus on those five areas, we'll win football games. The kids have done a great job over the course of these three years of buying into that."
Hanson graduated from Eleva-Strum High School in 1997. Throughout high school, he participated in football, golf and was a member of the weightlifting program. He played offensive and defensive line under Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame Coach Richard Salava. Following high school, Hanson went on to graduate from UW-Eau Claire in 2004. Hanson's coaching career began immediately following high school as an assistant coach for the high school and middle school programs at his high school alma mater, where he would coach until 2003. Hanson took over as head coach of the Greenwood high school football program from 2004 until 2018, and he was named the head coach of Altoona in 2019.
For Hanson and his staff, this year's team has become the product of last year's unique experiences.
"Last year for us, in the end was a COVID football season. We were a very young football team, having one senior on the team last season, so we looked at it as a two-year process. Last year was really the first half of this process and we were able to get a lot of young kids experience on the field in the five games that we were able to play. That's a huge difference when you get on the field and you have that experience but then also you have that maturity. For us as a program when we step on the field, I tell them, 'We will not face anything harder than what we faced last year.' With dealing with COIVD at the level we did last year, with being an undersized smaller team last year, anything we face this year, if we fall back on that experience from last season, we can get through anything."
Hanson and his staff oversee a program of 56 players with 25 suiting up for varsity games. His assistant staff includes Nate McMahon, Josh Berg, Brandon Kronenberg, Ryan Gunderson, Ryan Lawcewicz, Jeff Kaldor, Kellen Lager, Paul Swartos, and Mike Koehler. In addition to coaching, Hanson is also the Assistant Principal at Altoona Middle and High School. Hanson and his wife Lisa, have two daughters, Adeline, who has assisted with the football team for several years, and Greta.
About the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week Program:
The Green Bay Packers Coach of the Week program supports football outreach efforts by giving high school coaches the recognition they deserve. Nominations can be submitted by 10 a.m. every Monday to Ryan Fencl, Packers football outreach specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org. All nominations should include the nominee's name, address, school, phone number and reason he/she is deserving of the award. Continuing with last year's format, the Packers are seeking coaches to be nominated regardless of their teams' on-field performance. Rather, the nominee could be honored for how they have turned programs around, how the team has impacted the community, or how the coach impacts the players and their families.