The Packers have announced Kevin Wopat of Lourdes Academy High School in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, has been named the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week. The program is presented by Jack Link's Protein Snacks.
Wopat is now in his fourth year as the varsity head coach at Lourdes Academy. On Friday, Nov. 8, Lourdes Academy defeated Hilbert 14-7 in round three of the WIAA Division 7 Football Tournament. The Knights entered the tournament as a No. 2 seed after a perfect 9-0 regular season. The victory marks the first time in school history the Knights have had 12 wins in a season. Wopat knew his team was in for a tough game against the No. 1-seeded Wolves.
"It was a great game between two great high school teams," said Wopat. "Hilbert is an outstanding program with two really nice running backs to lead their offense. They put up a lot of points this year. We thought we matched up well against them. We held the line of scrimmage like we anticipated, and we held them to under a point up until the last minute of the game, which is hard to do considering the success they've had this season. Offensively we're pretty balanced, we can run and throw, we have a really talented quarterback and he forces you to defend the entire field. We had a couple big plays in the passing game and we had a 9-minute drive to start the fourth quarter, and that really put Hilbert in a tough position and allowed us to come away with the victory."
As Wopat and the Knights advance to the semifinals for the first time in school history, the defending state champion Black Hawk/Warren now stands in the way of the team's first ever trip to the state championship.
"If we want to have a chance to advance, we're going to need to hold up up front," Wopat said. "We're going to need to hold the point of attack, and win the point of attack against a very good offense. They're very diverse defensively which I think makes them very strong. We're going to need to find our spots to attack. Our motto is 'We'll take what you give us.' As the game moves along, just figuring that out, and putting ourselves in position to put points on the board, and give it everything we've got."
Wopat grew up in Rio, Wisconsin, where he played football, basketball and baseball at Rio High School. On the football field, he played quarterback and outside linebacker for Coach Steve Boldt. Following high school he continued to play football at Ripon College under Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame Coach Ron Ernst. He graduated from Ripon in 2005, and began his coaching career as an assistant coach for Princeton High School in 2005. He moved on to coach at his high school alma mater, Rio, for one year in 2006, before accepting the head coaching position at Markesan High School, where he coached until 2012. Wopat joined the Knights at Lourdes Academy as an assistant coach in 2014, and was named the head coach in 2016.
Wopat sees the Coach of the Week Award as an award for the entire team.
"For the program, I think the award speaks volumes to what the kids have done throughout our coaching staff's four years together," Wopat said. "We have thirteen coaches total, and they all play an integral role in our program. I think it speaks to all of the coaches, kids, and their families. The parents are incredibly supportive of what the football program asks of their children. We've been fortunate this year, the first time Lourdes has ever had an unbeaten regular season, and the first time we've ever won a road playoff game or advanced to level four. But we want to keep accomplishing things that we've never done and we'll look to do so again this Friday."
Wopat and his staff oversee 35 players, with all 35 suiting up for varsity. Wopat's assistant coaches include Nick Behnke, Tim Bromberek, Brendan Frion, Bryce Hilber, Marcus Hofmeister, Tom Murray, Dave Ruhl, Jake Ruhl, Drew Slade, Reed Tyriver, Andrew Wagner, and Nick Walters. Wopat also serves as the activities director for Lourdes Academy. Wopat and his wife, Kristin, have one son, Connor, and two daughters, Mady and Emma.
About the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week Program:
The Green Bay Packers Coach of the Week program, presented by Jack Link's Protein Snacks, supports football outreach efforts by giving high school coaches the recognition they deserve. On a weekly basis, for ten weeks throughout the high school football season, the Packers will select one high school coach as the Coach of the Week. Each honoree will be awarded several items and privileges, including a $2,000 donation to the school's football program from the Green Bay Packers, Jack Link's Protein Snacks and the NFL. Winning coaches will also receive recognition on Packers.com, WisSports.net and Wifca.org, and will be mentioned in the Packers Gameday program.
Nominations for Coach of the Week should be submitted by 10 a.m. every Monday to Ryan Fencl, Football Outreach Specialist, at email@example.com. Please include the nominee's name, address, school, phone number and reason he/she is deserving of the award.