The Packers have announced that Tom Chase of Randolph High School in Randolph, Wis., has been named the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week.
Chase, in his second year as head coach of the Rockets, drives an hour and ten minutes from Weyauwega-Fremont High School, where he works as a social studies teacher, to coach the team at Randolph. The Rockets opened the season with a 48-6 victory over conference opponent Johnson Creek High School on Friday, Sept. 25. While they are proud to start with a win, Chase is also grateful that high school football can take place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's been a different season, there's no doubt about it," said Chase. "We had to start late this year, which was out of our control, but I just wanted these seniors to be able to have a chance to play football this year. When we finally got to be able to have that first practice I just kept telling them, 'We got one day in, OK, let's get another day, let's get another, and if we can get enough weeks in, maybe we can play a game.' And that happened, so we feel very fortunate about that. Every day we are hoping that we can get a game on Friday, that our team stays intact and the team that we are playing is able to go. So that kind of thing always weighs on the back of your mind."
With the season off to a great start for Chase and the Rockets on the field, the impact the team has off the field is just as great. Inspired by senior captain Jax Rataczak, in April, Chase and his players boarded a bus and traveled to Portage, Wis., to assist non-profit Sleep in Heavenly Peace in building beds for children in need. The team will also be helping their local firefighters serve a pancake breakfast this coming Saturday, the day after their game against Cambria-Friesland High School. In addition to helping the community off the field, the team also gives back to youth football players on the field. Every Saturday, several of the players assist with the youth flag football program in Randolph. Chase works with the youth coaches to make sure that the players' experiences with football at a young age are enjoyable.
"The youth coaches in Randolph are phenomenal. I met with them when I first got the job and told them that they need to basically do three things: No. 1, make sure it was fun for the kids. No. 2, make sure the players are learning a little bit about the game of football. And No. 3, make sure they want to come back the next year. And [the coaches] have done just a great job down there from fifth grade all the way up."
Chase grew up in Tustin, Wis., where he graduated from what was then Weyauwega High School in 1981. Throughout high school, he participated in football, basketball and baseball. Chase played linebacker and guard under head coach Jim Otte. Following high school, Chase began his undergraduate studies at UW-Eau Claire. After one year at Eau Claire, he returned home to assist his father on the family farm, before enrolling at UW-Oshkosh, where he graduated in 1987. Chase's football coaching career began as an assistant coach at his high school alma mater in 1988. When his former coach Jim Otte stepped down in 1991, Chase was named the head varsity football coach where he remained until 2014. The following year, he coached at the collegiate level for the Ripon College as a quarterbacks and fullbacks coach. In 2019, Chase accepted the position as head coach at Randolph.
Chase sees the Coach of the Week Award as a community award for Randolph.
"When I received the call about the award, I was ecstatic about it, and humbled by it," Chase said. "In that same breath, we have such a great coaching staff, such a great bunch of youth coaches, and such an amazing group of kids at Randolph. They are just so incredible. They come to work every day, they want to learn, they're excited when they get to practice, and it is such a joy every day. So to win this award it is just a reflection of all of the great things that are going on in the community of Randolph."
Chase and his staff oversee a program of 44 players. His assistant staff includes Austin Bunders, Trevor Flease, Darin Drews, and Eric Doll. Chase gives special thanks to his wife, Tammy, for her strength and constant support. They have two sons, Chris and Cody.
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 email@example.com. 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.