Ken Krause of Muskego High School has been named the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA)/Green Bay Packers Coach of the Year. The program is presented by Jack Link's Protein Snacks.
Krause's 11th season as the head coach of Muskego High School ended with the school's first football state championship. On Nov. 16, the Warriors completed a perfect 14-0 season with a 24-21 victory over the four-time defending WIAA Division 1 state champion Kimberly Papermakers at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. In an exciting back-and-forth game that saw five lead changes, the Warriors took the lead with 11:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. Following a Kimberly punt, the Warriors went on a 10-play drive that ate up the remaining 4:49 on the clock, and ended with a kneel-down inside of Kimberly's 5-yard line to seal the victory.
The path to the championship for Krause and his team began in the offseason.
"It's what we've done the last four years," Krause explains. "We take a lot of pride in our year-round lifting program. Particularly the last five minutes, we got the ball back and we ran the clock out. It's just a credit to our offseason commitment that these kids put in. There were so many situations when the game went back and forth, and they never flinched. It really showed in the fourth quarter: the defense had a couple big stops, and then the big drive by our offense at the end of the game."
A West Allis, Wis., native, Krause is a 1990 graduate of West Allis Central High School, where he played running back and outside linebacker under Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame Coach, Phil Sobocinski. Following high school, Krause graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1995. Krause's coaching career began in his third year at Whitewater, when he became assistant freshman coach for his alma mater, West Allis Central. The following year, he took over as the head football coach for West Allis Central's junior varsity team before advancing to the position of offensive coordinator for the Bulldogs varsity team in 1996. The next year, Krause took over as the head varsity coach for West Allis Central, where he remained until he took the head coaching position for the Warriors in 2008.
Krause accredits the Coach of the Year Award to everyone involved with the Muskego football program.
"When a coach wins a Coach of the Year Award, to me, it's a Staff of the Year Award. I have a lot of former players that played for me, a lot of guys that played for Muskego. There's just a ton of pride in our program. I think it's also a community award. Our youth program I sincerely believe is the best in the state (and) we really feel our program starts in first grade. We really have 85 coaches in first through12th grade, and we are all connected. All the youth through high school coaches, as a group, we won state. In Division 1 football, you have to have a great leader, but more importantly, you have to have those other people with you or it's not going to happen."
Krause and his staff oversee a program of 155 players, including a varsity roster of 85. His assistant coaching staff includes Jason Henneberry, Dan Mlachnik, Rob Domenosky, Eric Hetzel, Troy Mendez, Tyler Kunick, Ryan Lucchesi, Collin Smith, Larry Meeks, Ryan Nault, Nick Schmidlkofer, Jeff Huckstorf, Jeff Wagner, Larry Milton, and Mike Taake.
Krause gives special thanks to his wife, Julie, for helping to make his coaching career possible.
"I also share (this award) with my wife," Krause said. "You have to have a very supportive person to allow you to do this for 22 years. She is the rock of our family and I'm really blessed to have her." Krause and his wife have four sons, Cody, Dylan, Aiden and Ashton.
About the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Year/Week Program:
In recognition of the honor, the Packers will award a $4,000 donation to the Muskego football program from the Green Bay Packers, Jack Link's Protein Snacks and the NFL. Krause will be presented with the award at the Packers home game against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 30, and honored at the WFCA All-State Banquet in the Lambeau Field Atrium.
This marks the 21st 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 regarding this award, the All-State team and the WFCA is available at www.wifca.org.