Corey Berghammer of Cumberland High School has been named the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA)/Green Bay Packers Coach of the Year.
Berghammer's fourth season as the head coach of Cumberland was unlike any he had experienced. With over 60% of high schools in Wisconsin playing football in the fall and the remaining schools playing in the spring due to COVID-19, teams were fortunate to get any games under their belts. Heading into any other season with a roster as talented as the Beavers' easily would have stirred thoughts of hoisting the state championship trophy at Camp Randall Stadium. But after last July's news that the WIAA State Football Finals had been canceled, Berghammer and his team knew while a state championship wasn't on the table, they could still take the field under the Friday night lights and compete with any opponent. Not only did the Beavers compete, but they went on to have a dominant 11-0 season this past fall.
To adjust to this season's challenges, Berghammer and his staff had to find creative ways to interact with their players.
"Our season really started last spring when the spring sports season got shut down," Berghammer said. "We decided it was a good time for our students that needed an outlet, so we did some leadership meetings over Zoom to keep in touch with our student athletes. Then in the summer, our administration did an amazing job in getting us an outdoor type weight room. We actually rented a big wedding tent where we were able to get our kids in to do some lifting and a little bit of a chance to get together. Then once the season got rolling in September, I think our kids were just blessed, it was literally just one game at a time, just one practice at a time. It was our message that we are going to just live this practice and get the best we can because we don't know what tomorrow's going to bring."
After their non-conference games to start the year were canceled, the team kicked their season off on Sept. 25 against Heart O'North Conference opponent Cameron High School and never looked back, culminating in Cumberland's first undefeated season since the 1930s.
"We were just hoping to get started and it ended up being a really good year," said Berghammer. "Our kids were healthy all year; that was one of the best things that we could've had. Our kids followed through with COVID protocols and just did everything we could've asked to keep their season alive."
Berghammer grew up in Clayton, Wis., where he graduated from Clayton High School in 1992. Throughout high school, he participated in football, basketball and baseball, and he played quarterback under WFCA Hall of Fame Coach Ed Langham. Berghammer began his coaching career as an assistant coach for his high school alma mater under his brother, Chris, who was head coach of the Clayton Bears. Berghammer remained with the Bears until 2014, when he graduated with his teaching degree and began working and assistant coaching at Cumberland. Following a 3-6 season in 2016, Berghammer was named the head coach in 2017 and the program continued progressing every season since. Berghammer was shocked and honored when he received the news that he had been named the Coach of the Year, news that was delivered initially by his brother.
"This is just a once in a lifetime honor," Berghammer said. "It's really just overwhelming to even think about. I can't thank my staff enough. The hours that we put in…whether it's coming in on a Sunday, coming in to hand out or pick up equipment, it's the same things that any coach asks but our staff does anything I ask without any hesitation. Just for us to be awarded as a whole group, I told them, 'This is a coaching staff award, this isn't just coming to me, this is for everything we've done all these years since I've been here.' I also want to give a special thanks to the Packers and the WFCA for this amazing opportunity. I am truly honored to be receiving this award and recognition for our program."
Berghammer and his staff oversee a program of 43 players. His assistant coaching staff includes David Olson, Jace Martens, Michael Gideo and Brandon Olufs. In addition to coaching, Berghammer is also a third grade teacher at Cumberland Elementary School. He and his wife Lisa, have a son, Kyle, and two daughters, Summer and McKenna.
About the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Year/Week Program:
This past year due to COVID-19, the Packers sought high school coaches to be nominated regardless of their teams' on-field performance or whether they are played in the fall or spring. Nominees were 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. In recognition of the honor, the Packers will award a $2,000 donation to the Cumberland football program from the Packers and the NFL and Berghammer will be honored at the WFCA All-State Banquet This marks the 23rd year both the Green Bay Packers and WFCA have awarded the honor together. The WFCA has awarded a Coach of the Year since 1976, while the Packers have presented the same award since 1998, in addition to the Coach of the Week program. More information is available at www.wifca.org