An area football coach will be recognized at the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association’s upcoming Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Weyauwega-Fremont’s Tom Chase will receive the association’s Marge and Dick Rundle Positive Influence of Coaching Award March 28, 2015, in Middleton.
“For me, it is an incredible honor,” he said. “I have always prided myself with positive reinforcement in any sport I have coached. I feel very humbled and honored to have been chosen for the award.”
Chase spent three seasons as a varsity assistant in Weyauwega-Fremont before being named head coach in 1991. He recently wrapped up his 24th season.
A 1981 graduate of Weyauwega-Fremont High School, he returned to his alma mater as a full-time substitute teacher and assistant football, boys’ freshman basketball and junior varsity baseball coach after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
After one year as a substitute teacher, the Weyauwega-Fremont School District offered Chase a half-time teaching/half-time athletic director position. He served as AD for eight years before moving full-time to the classroom.
Chase spent $1,500 of his own money to refurbish, paint and equip the high school’s weight room and helped get a weightlifting program started. He raised money and started a tackle football program in 1994 for grades 7-8 that is now part of the school athletic program. He also helped organize a youth football program for grades 3-6.
Chase, who has taken seven teams to the state football playoffs, was named the Central Wisconsin Conference coach of the year in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007. He earned district coach of the year honors in 2003 and 2005 and was singled out as one of the Green Bay Packers’ coaches of the week in 2005.
His most successful season was in 2005, as he coached the Indians to the state semifinals. He was also diagnosed with prostate cancer that year and had an operation to remove the cancer that he said opened his eyes.
Chase also coached girls’ basketball for three years and led the Indians to a conference championship. He coached softball for five seasons and girls’ JV basketball for several years and now coaches the boys’ grades 7-8 basketball team.
He has also been active in Weyauwega and Fremont’s youth baseball programs and coached three traveling teams over the years.
“I have found the job everyone looks for,” Chase said. “I have never gone to work. I go to school every day and love it. I have truly been blessed to have had an opportunity to work with some of the most wonderful young men and women in the state of Wisconsin.”
Chase and his wife, Tammy, have two sons, Chris and Cody.
“Thousands of hours of volunteering in many ways has benefited some amazing relationships with a lot of athletes,” he added. “It has been an amazing ride and it’s now only starting to sink in how special it is.”
WFCA’s 35th class of Hall of Fame inductees include high school coaches Dieter Antoni (Onalaska), William Ehrend (Wrightstown), Robert Prahl (Oregon), Don Scharbarth (Lakeland Union), Michael Sexton (Hortonville) and William Vander Velden (Winneconne); assistant coaches?Leonard Apple (Kenosha Tremper), Robert Domenosky (Muskego), Greg Jahnke (Manitowoc Roncalli) and John Lehman (Brookfield East); high School head/assistant coach Mike Ryback (Pewaukee); and college coach Brian Borland (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater).
Keith Hensler (Mukwonago) and Ken Biegel (Wisconsin Rapids) will be inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, while Travis Wilson of wissports.net will receive the Dave McClain Distinguished Service Award.
The induction banquet will be held March 28 at the Marriott West in Middleton, with a reception scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the banquet cost $45 and are available in the W-F High School office.