The Packers have announced that John Dunlavy of Markesan High School in Markesan, Wisconsin, has been named the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week.
Dunlavy, in his third year as the coach of the Hornets, is preparing to enter a high school football season unlike any other due to the impacts of COVID-19. Markesan is a member of the Eastern Suburban Conference, which has elected to move forward with the fall football season. The Hornets kick off their season against Lourdes Academy on Friday, Sept. 25.
One of the biggest challenges facing Dunlavy and other high school head coaches, has been the adjustments to timing and access to players during this pandemic.
"There's been a lot of ways we've had to adjust, just in terms of practice time and what you're allowed," Dunlavy said. "There's no more two-a-days; we used to always do two-a-days every other day and longer practices. Not having that extra time with kids with the restrictions, we haven't had the time to work on things the way that we normally would. We are a very young football team this year and we have had to balance between how much conditioning we do with how much actual football learning that we also have to do with a limited summer and limited practice times this fall. So, it's definitely been a challenge."
Dunlavy grew up in Clintonville, Wisconsin, where he graduated from Clintonville High School in 2002. Throughout high school, he participated in football, basketball and baseball for the Truckers. Dunlavy played football under his dad, Coach Brian Dunlavy, while in high school. Following his graduation, he attended Ripon College where he played baseball for four years, graduating in 2007.
Dunlavy's coaching career began as the freshman football coach in his father's Clintonville program in 2008. He went on to accept a teaching position in Lancaster, Wisconsin, where he joined their football coaching staff in 2009. In 2010, Dunlavy returned to Clintonville, where he coached football and baseball until taking a position with the Markesan program in 2012. He was named the head coach of the Hornets in 2018.
A tradition at Markesan that began under former coach Travis Winkers and continues under Dunlavy is having the high school football players give back and coach the youth football program.
"Every Saturday morning during our season, our JV players captain and coach our third and fourth grade kids in flag football games, then our varsity players split up and coach our fifth and sixth grade kids. They volunteer their time to outreach and coach what they know to the younger kids. We have them wear their game jerseys, so those young kids look at them like they are superheroes," said Dunlavy. "Ultimately, we want them to have fun and enjoy the game and teach them a little bit along the way. At the end of the year we cap it off with the fifth and sixth graders getting to play at halftime of one of our varsity games under the lights in front of a big crowd, which is kind of the finale of our flag season."
Dunlavy and his staff oversee a program of 50 players. His assistant staff includes Rod Symons, Seth Feldner, Dean Slark, Vince Stensrud, Brent Wiegel, Tim Dillie, Eric Allen, Jason Breaker and Carson Clark.
In addition to coaching football, Dunlavy is also a physical education teacher at Markesan High School. Dunlavy and his wife, Joelle, have one son, Hank.
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. This year, because some schools have postponed their football seasons to the spring due to COVID-19, the Packers are seeking coaches to be nominated regardless of their teams' on-field performance or whether they are playing in the fall or spring. 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.