Cohesive coaching staff key to Cards’ success
In his 18 seasons as Bangor High School’s head football coach, Rick Muellenberg has put together a pretty impressive resume to say the least.
In addition to posting a 131-54 overall record, Muellenberg’s teams have won seven Scenic Bluffs Conference championships (2008, ’09, ’10, ’12, ’14, ’15 and ‘16) and made the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association football playoffs 14 times (from 2002-2006 and 2008-2016).
The icing on the cake for Muellenberg came at the end of the 2015 season, when Bangor captured the WIAA Division 7 state championship with a 20-14 victory over Alma-Pepin at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
Along the way, Bangor has won 26 straight regular season games and capped off a stellar 2016 season by advancing to the WIAA Division 7 semifinals before losing to eventual state champion Edgar.
This year, the Cardinals opened with two wins in a row, including Friday’s 38-0 shutout of fifth-ranked Loyal-Granton.
But if you ask Muellenberg about his accomplishments as a head coach, he quickly places credit on those around him.
“The real key – and I say this very sincerely – is that this is the 11th year that this coaching staff has been together,” offered Muellenberg.
That staff includes defensive coordinator Kevin Kravik, tight ends and defensive backs coach Jordan Laufenberg and linebackers and running backs coach Josh Chaplin.
“We all play a role and we’re good friends off the field. It’s one of the biggest keys to our consistency,” said Muellenberg. “As coaches, we’ve gotten better – there’s no doubt about that.”
With a state title and a state semifinal appearance in its rearview mirror, Bangor is looking ahead to another strong season in 2017.
The Cardinals return 13 seniors who have never lost a regular season game.
“We’ve got 13 seniors this year. There are a lot of expectations, so we’re excited,” said Muellenberg. “I feel fortunate to be out here coaching these guys.”
It’s rare for a school district the size of Bangor’s to have 13 seniors, but Muellenberg and his staff make the effort to make the high school football experience a special one for their players.
“I want them to want to be here – to feel part of something special,” said Muellenberg.
“We get to know the kids and do the little things that make them want to play here,” he concluded. “We want them to look back when they’re 25 and say that this was a good experience.”
Bangor is looking for No. 27 in a row Friday night, when the Cardinals travel to Royall to take on the Panthers in the 7 p.m. Scenic Bluffs Conference opener for both teams.