The Green Bay Packers have announced that Dan Birr of Valley Christian School in Oshkosh, Wis., has been named the Packers High School Coach of the Week. The program is presented by Buffalo Wild Wings.
This season marked the first year since 2015 that Valley Christian had their own independent football program. In recent years, the Warriors had been part of a co-op football program with Saint Mary Catholic High School, which played 8-Man football.
Prior to Valley Christian's time in the co-op, Birr was the head coach of the Warriors from 1997 until 2003. After 2003, Birr stepped away from coaching and became the principal at the Rawhide Boys Ranch in New London, Wis., where he worked for the next 17 years. Then after one year as the dean of students for the Florence School District in Florence, Wis., he returned to Valley Christian as the Assistant Principal. During his time away from coaching, he always wanted to return.
"I always had an interest to get back into coaching," said Birr. "As our school was growing, we said, 'you know what? Maybe we can have our own program.' It started with the boys. We wanted to get more guys out for football, and we had a lot of guys walking the halls that should've been part of that co-op team, but what we always heard from them was, 'you know if we had our own team, I'd be playing, but to play for a co-op when everything is over at the other school, it's just not the same.' I had a couple other teachers here who had a real interest in football, and we just started talking and praying and all of a sudden, we said, 'if we're going to do this, the 2023 season would be the time to do it, because we have a good group of seniors. We can bring it back, and get things started.' And really, we got things going in spring of 2023."
Birr graduated from Pulaski High School in 1975. As a member of the Red Raiders, Birr participated in football, basketball and baseball. Birr played running back and strong safety under WFCA Hall of Fame Coach Don "Rock" Mannigel. Following high school, Birr went on to play football as a strong safety for Maranatha Baptist University in Watertown, Wis., under coach Robert Rapson. Birr then transferred and graduated from Midwestern Bible College of Michigan in 1979. Birr's coaching career began at Silver State School in Denver in 1979 where he coached until 1987 and won a state championship in 1983. In 1987, Birr moved back to Wisconsin and coached JV football for the Ashwaubenon Jaguars until 1991. Before coming to Valley Christian in 1997, Birr left Ashwaubenon and took a break from coaching when he became Principal at Faith Christian School in Williams Bay, Wis.
Birr views the Coach of the Week Award as a great acknowledgement of all the hard work everyone who is part of the Valley Christian football program has undertaken.
"It does mean a lot, to be recognized as someone who got a program going, a lot of people are involved. I always tell our guys, 'football is the greatest team sport that's ever been created.' The coaching staff that I have, I've got three great assistant coaches. All the involvement of our players, parents, businesses to get a program started, our athletic director, school administration. When you look at a football program, especially getting it going from the ground up, everyone's involved and a part of it."
Birr and his staff oversee a program of 32 players. His assistant staff includes Ben Birr, Chip Kintopf and Mat Rieckhoff. Birr and his wife, Berta, have three sons, Ben, Keith and Andrew, and one daughter, Jennelle, along with 11 grandchildren.
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 2023 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 Manager, at email@example.com. Please include the nominee's name, address, school, phone number and reason he/she is deserving of the award.