“Coach G (Ken Golomski) a legend amongst the Ashwaubenon Community”
By Murray Gleffe, Sports Correspondent
Ashwaubenon great Ken Golomski will be honored September 8th, before the Jaguar football team hosts Bay Port. Coach G was recently inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Hall of Fame, and this past May into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Coach G came to Ashwaubenon in 1977 following two tours in Vietnam, graduation at UW Stevens Point, and a short stint at Waupaca High School where he started his teaching and football careers.
He started off as a junior varsity football coach and sociology teacher for two years at Ashwaubenon. He then was promoted to the defensive coordinator position until 1983 in which he took over the leadership of the program. Ironically, the first day of practice as the head coach, Coach G and his wife had their son. From 1983 to 2007, Coach G won 4 State Championships. In 1996, the Jaguars defeated Monroe 29-8, in 2000 Sussex Hamilton 19-12, in 2001 Waukesha Catholic Memorial 27-7, and then finally Waunakee in 2005 by a shutout score of 19-0 in front of over 30,000 people at Camp Randall Stadium.
I recently sat down with Coach G to talk about what the achievement means to him, longevity of coaches now days, current position, and plans for the future. Coach G, “Every State Championship we accomplished the kids bought into our system and peaked at the end of the season which is the right time. Each team was unique, just like your children. Every one of them offers something different to the dance floor. I feel like we weren’t the biggest or strongest club heading into those four games, but we used other intangibles such as hustle, discipline, work ethic, and smarts to beat those teams in the Title game. It was great getting down there the first time, but once you get there its addictive and you want to go back again. My staff and I tried to lay the blueprint for success each and every time after that.”
The Jaguars were also State Runner-ups in 1993 and 1998. They won or shared 9 Bay Conference Championships, and qualified for the State Playoffs 14 times when the playoff system was limited. At the completion of the 2007 season, his last, Coach G’s overall varsity record was a remarkable 183-92. He has had many former players go on themselves to either coach football at the high school or collegiate level. A lot has changed since the retirement of Coach G from Ashwaubenon. A new turf field has been installed, new fieldhouse, better seating at Goelz Field, and an addition to the scoreboard.
Coach G, “The induction into both hall of fames is a great honor. I’m still trying to figure out if they made a mistake or not! I never would have dreamed of this starting my coaching career. I attribute this to timing…being in the right place at the right time. We caught lightning in a bottle, and I can’t thank the coaches, the fans, the community, administration, and of course the players enough for how they helped me along the way. It was a unique time to be here, and I’m very grateful.”
On that special late summer day in September, Coach G will have a permanent monument put forth for his amazing work as a teacher, mentor, and coach. It is token of appreciation by all members of the Village of Ashwaubenon for his 24 years as Head Coach and many more in the classroom. Coach G, “It’s a great honor. People sometimes misconstrue being a football coach and teacher. I was a teacher on the football field and a teacher of history and sociology in the classroom. The difference was the subject matter changed from morning and early afternoon to the evening. I taught values and wanted to remain consistent in both realms.”
In today’s society, it is very hard for Athletic Directors to keep good coaches for more than 5 years. Teaching has become tougher, coaches have to do more in a calendar year being a year-round sport, strength and conditioning classes are expected, and family structures have changed. It is very hard to envision a coach like Coach Golomski coming around anytime soon, if ever. Coach G, “I don’t feel like there will be many guys coaching 25 to 30 years anymore. Some of it has to do with your family. You have to have a very supportive wife to endure the long hours put into the profession, your love of the sport, and your role in the community. A lot of coaches now want the quick fix. It is very hard to turn around a program in a year. It took myself and my staff a few years to see progress, and a number of years after that to really get to the top. You have to remain hungry, see a vision, and remain patient even after five or six years if you are going to be in coaching for the long haul.”
Coach Golomski retired from Ashwaubenon in 2007 but didn’t retire from football. He wanted to try his hand at the collegiate level, and was hired on by St. Norbert’s as Running Backs Coach in 2008, where he remains today. In addition, Coach G and his wife visit their son in Boston. Coach G, “He (our son) works in New Hampshire as a professor in the health care field. My wife and I were very fortunate to go visit him in South Africa while he was doing some work out there to help people. We also go down to Milwaukee to visit my brothers, and we spend a couple of weeks in Florida in the spring.”
Coach Golomski is a one of a kind person. It was my first time meeting him, and the 30 minutes I spent talking to him were very special. He cares about the young men he coaches, his family, and other people he comes in contact with on a daily basis. I want to leave one final thought that he shared with me on the community of Ashwaubenon. Coach G, “In my opinion, Ashwaubenon High School, with all of its amentities, is truly the best campus in the area. Take advantage of what you have been given.”