Liebzeit named West football coach
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – The Skylar Liebzeit era will officially begin with the 2020 high school football season.
Liebzeit was recently named the new head coach of the Green Bay West varsity team.
He replaces John Saharsky, who resigned Nov. 22, 2019.
“Coaching is contagious,” said Liebzeit, who was a three-sport athlete in football, wrestling and baseball at Wisconsin Dells High School. “You want to do it over and over again. It eats lots of time, but once the season is over, you’re ready to get back into it again the next season and be with the guys.”
Even though young, the 27-year-old Liebzeit has an extensive background in coaching.
He was an offensive assistant/wide receivers coach at Division III Lawrence University in Appleton for the past two seasons.
Prior to his stint at Lawrence, he also coached at Manawa, Kettle Moraine and Reedsburg high schools.
“I’m a young coach, but I am seasoned,” Liebzeit said. “Understanding how to build a culture is important to me. This season, we are going to focus on a brick-by-brick mentality. It takes lots of bricks to build a foundation and a successful program.”
Success had not come easily for the Wildcats, who last made the WIAA state playoffs in 1996.
West went 0-9 during the 2019 regular season for the fourth straight season, but it beat Menominee Indian in a 10th game that was allowed after not qualifying for the playoffs.
The Wildcats have not won more than one game in a season since 2003.
West will be moving from the Bay Conference to the Fox River Classic Conference this upcoming year.
The Wildcats will have Green Bay East, Manitowoc Lincoln, Menasha, Notre Dame Academy, Sheboygan North and Sheboygan South in their division.
Each team will play six conference games within its own division and one randomly-drawn crossover contest with the other division.
Combined with two non-conference games, the regular season will be nine weeks long as usual.
“I reached out to lots of coaches around the state,” said Liebzeit. “Becoming successful at West again is going to be a process. Initially, I’ll get in front of the guys and ask what they are looking for before telling them what my goals are. Developing trust and having good communication with the players and school will be important. I want to get guys excited about football again.”
Liebzeit said he is also excited for the rivalry game with Green Bay East.
“They will have a new coach at East as well, so it’s a chance for each of us to create a new history – to get one up on each other,” he said. “Your No. 1 goal every season should be to beat your rival.”
Liebzeit played quarterback his first three years at Ripon College – where he earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science – but converted to running back his senior season.
“Skylar’s passion for football and his desire to make a difference in the lives of the players he coaches was evident from the beginning of our conversations,” West athletic director Sue Kuester said in a statement released by the school. “He has demonstrated he has the knowledge and dedication to successfully lead our football program.”
Liebzeit, who is a real estate agent, currently resides in Appleton with his wife, Trisha, and 4-month old son, Knox, and said he has no immediate plans to move to the Green Bay area.
“My wife deserves lots of credit in this process,” he said. “She’s a true coach’s wife.”