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March 11, 2014 | 04:01 PMWALWORTH — There's a new chief at Big Foot High School.
The Big Foot school board approved hiring Greg Enz to replace Rodney Wedig as head coach during a special meeting on Thursday, March 6.
Enz was the head coach at Little Chute High School from 2001-2012. He has also coached for Sheboygan North High School and Lakeland College.
Between 2002 and 2012, he coached Little Chute to a 60-48 overall record.
Enz spent last season coaching and teaching at Edgewater High School in Orlando, Fla.
Enz and Wedig have very similar coaching philosophies, Enz said, which was a major reason Tim Collins, the Big Foot High School athletic director, thought he would be a good fit for the job.
"Greg brings great passion to both the classroom and football field," Collins wrote in a press release. "By all reports, he is outstanding in the classroom and there is a natural progression to the football field. Many times your best coaches are also some of your best teachers."
Enz will also be teaching social studies at Big Foot High School.
During Enz's last season at Little Chute in 2012, the team averaged 166.4 rushing yards per game and about 150 yards passing. The team finished the season 9-2.
Under Wedig in 2013, the Chiefs averaged 268.7 rushing and 114.1 passing yards per game with a record of 11-1.
"Rodney's been very much based on a strong run game," Enz said. "What I've done, I think, is subtly different in terms of blocking scheme, but it's very much based on having a strong run game, a power run game — getting the ball downhill."
Enz said that earlier in his career, he relied on an option-style offense, similar to what Badger High School runs, which places heavy emphasis on the quarterback's running ability.
But in recent years, he said, he's bought into a more traditional run game — a great running quarterback is rare, Enz explained, so building the offense around a traditional run game provides a more stable team year to year. But there's always room for a talented running quarterback, should one appear, he said.
Enz's coaching philosophy.
"I think all too often coaches, younger coaches, even myself years ago, we get so intent on the win, that we forget about the parts that get you to that point," Enz said. "It really is about just taking care of development."
Enz said that teaching players to understand the game and emphasizing fundamentals is what defines strong programs. He said that Big Foot has been blessed with talent and size that he never saw at Little Chute but regardless of size, great technique breeds champions. Wedig's ability to teach on and off the field is something that Enz hopes to emulate.
"(Wedig) is a teacher," Enz said. "What he's been able to do; it's because he teaches kids, and he teaches kids to be responsible and puts them in positions to be successful. I'm going to be who I am, but I think there's a thread that coaches who are able to have success on the field share. You have to worry about the little things more than the end results."
He said his goal as coach is to be an educator on the football field, as well as in the classroom.
Wedig and Enz have known one another for quite some time, Enz said — his wife grew up in Cuba City, and Wedig wasn't far away in Belmont. He reached out to Wedig when he heard about the job opening at Big Foot.
"He thought I would be a very good fit for his program because (of) how he does things," Enz said. "I was very honored that he thought that much of me."
Because he and Wedig have such similar styles, Enz said that fans shouldn't expect to see many changes this year — Big Foot has a winning program, with a great staff of assistants, he said, and it's never good to mess with a winning formula.
"I don't want to say it'll look like nothing has changed," Enz said.
But at the end of the day, he probably won't be running plays that feature triple options or five wide receivers. Big Foot has a run-based program, and he plans to keep it that way, he said.
Coming back to Wisconsin
Enz is a native of Wisconsin, but he moved to Orlando in 2013 with his family to take an assistant coaching job at Edgewater, which has a student body of just over 1,700.
He dodged the coldest winter Wisconsin has seen in three decades, but now, he said, it's time to move back home.
"People did say we picked the one year where moving to Florida was probably OK," Enz laughed. "So we'll count our blessings as far as that's concerned."
Edgewater High School's student population is around 65 percent minority, with a large gap between its richest and poorest students.
Enz said it was a great educational experience for his kids to live in such a diverse environment for a year — they were exposed to different ideas and ways of life in a way that wouldn't have been possible in Wisconsin, he said.
But it was also an unpredictable environment. He and his family missed their home state, he said.
"You know what you get when you live in Wisconsin," Enz said. "You get solid education, you get good community support, you generally live in a safe environment, and I think those were things that we were very willing to go back to. That kind of started the impetus for looking to go back."
Plus he missed fried cheese curds and bratwurst, two foods that have been missing from his diet in Florida, he said and laughed.