The Green Bay Packers have announced that John Bunyan of Port Washington High School in Port Washington, Wis., has been named the Packers High School Coach of the Week. The program is presented by Buffalo Wild Wings.
In his 12th year as varsity head coach at Port Washington, Bunyan and his Pirates just wrapped up the program's first undefeated regular season since 1985. It also marks their first East Central Conference title since they joined in 2020. The Pirates look to continue their perfect record in the Division 3 WIAA Football Tournament beginning on Friday, Oct. 20, when they welcome Obama SCTE to Port Washington for the first round of the playoffs. Though the team is enjoying this year's success and anticipating the road ahead, it took several seasons for Bunyan and his staff to lay the groundwork in order build toward the program's recent success.
"I think the biggest key was laying foundational pieces, and establishing a really good youth program," said Bunyan. "We have a great program here with the Buccaneers and really just focus on getting kids to play football. It was key getting a good group of youth coaches involved and not worrying about winning, but instead about smiles on their faces as they played. Our numbers have increased with our freshman program year after year; instead of bringing in 15 to 16 kids, we're now bringing in 30 or more and just teaching them the fundamentals of the game. This has been a work in progress for many years, it wasn't just this group of kids that all of a sudden have this undefeated season; it was a buildup of our alumni, our coaches in the past, to our youth programs and our community involvement and it has really been a huge holistic approach to get us to this point."
Bunyan graduated from Janesville Craig High School in 1991. As a member of the Cougars, Bunyan participated in football, basketball and baseball. He was an offensive and defensive lineman under coach Ron Ganong. Bunyan then went on to play football for Northern Michigan University as a defensive tackle. Bunyan graduated from NMU with his undergraduate's degree in 1997. He then received his first master's degree from UW-Stout in 1999, along with a second from the University of Concordia of Mequon, Wis., in 2017. Bunyan's football coaching career began as an assistant coach for UW-Stout from 1997 until 1999. Bunyan then went on to coach for Saginaw Valley State University 1999-2001, Mishicot Community School 2001-2005, Cedarburg High School 2005-2006 and Concordia University 2006. He joined the Port Washington football staff in the fall of 2006 as an assistant coach. In 2012, Bunyan was named the head coach of the Pirates.
Bunyan is honored to win the Coach of the Week Award and sees it as a reflection of the team's hard work not only this season, but prior years as well.
"I've been preaching to our kids that we do things the right way, and the same thing goes for me as a head coach and a leader. For our team, it's exciting. We've had a really good year and we've had a great couple of years. So, to be recognized [as the Coach of the Week], it means a lot to our kids and the program."
Bunyan and his staff oversee a program of 82 players with 55 of them suiting up for the varsity games. His assistant staff includes Zac Moeller, Adam Prom, Lee Fritsch, Barry Steinert, Dave Eslinger, Larry Struckman, Bob Kiefer, JJ Loose, Jason Bergin, Scott Yanke, Mike Riley and Ralph Perez. In addition to coaching, Bunyan is the activities director/assistant principal at Port Washington High School. Bunyan and his wife, Sheri, have two sons, Michael and Jack.
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.