Tags: Feature Sports Story, Sports
January 30, 2012 | 11:58 AMWILLIAMS BAY - Derek Diehl is the new head coach of the Williams Bay High School football team.
Diehl, who was a volunteer assistant coach at Williams Bay last year, was awarded the head spot Monday morning during a special School Board meeting. The vote was unanimous. Diehl will be paid $3,920 as head coach.
Diehl, 38, is a Williams Bay resident, who played football at the high school, college and semi-professional levels. He has also coached at the youth, high school and semi-pro levels.
Diehl is the owner, manager and defensive coordinator of the Lake Geneva Generals, a semi-pro football team in the Mid States Football League. In their inaugural season in 2011, the Generals were one of the top teams in the MSFL, going 9-1 and winning a division title. The Generals play their home games at the Williams Bay High School football field.
"I'm a little bit on cloud nine right now," Diehl said on the phone Monday afternoon. "I'm elated. It's been an emotional roller coaster for me this past month. This is a great opportunity for the Bay kids along with my family and I."
A seven-member advisory committee made up of parents, Principal Barry Butters and Athletic Director Mike Coolidge developed a position profile, screened the applicants and interviewed the candidates, said Superintendent Vance Dalzin.
The process included an extensive reference and background check, Dalzin said.
Thirteen candidates applied for the position and four were interviewed before Diehl was recommended to Dalzin. Dalzin recommended Diehl to the School Board.
Although respected by school staff and the team, former head coach Buddy Breen resigned in November. Breen is also the high school physical education teacher.
The Williams Bay Bulldogs football team hasn't won a game on the field in four years.
"We would like to have a winning football team, but football is also a vehicle to produce better students," Dalzin said during the meeting.
Butters credited the advisory committee with making the head coach selection easy. "It wasn't a difficult process," he said.
Diehl plans to bring a successful culture to the Bay football program. He wants to take the team back to basics.
"We are going to get down to the fundamentals," Diehl said. "It will be a complete start over. We will simplify things in all aspects. We need to learn the formations and the basics before Week 1. By the time the season starts, I want the kids to feel comfortable concentrating on execution."
Each Friday starting this week, Diehl is preparing to spend time at Williams Bay High School, where he will acclimate himself with players by implementing lifting and cardio workouts.
Overall, Diehl knows it will take a whole new way of doing things to produce results on the field.
"The Bay wants change, and I'm presenting change to them," he said. "I can provide that atmosphere. I will teach the basics of success. We will set numerous smaller goals before each game to achieve success. If we can accomplish those goals, the wins will come. We have to quit talking about failure and loss. We need to believe to achieve. And we can't expect wins without achievement."
Check Wednesday's Regional News for a complete story and Mike Ramczyk's take on the hiring.
- Sports Editor Mike Ramczyk contributed to this report.