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Football Players Will Not See Familiar Face Next Season

Devon Gabor, Student Journalist

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After five years of coaching, Rhinelander High School’s head football coach Chris Ferge will not be returning to coach the 2019 – 2020 football season.

According to Superintendent Kelli Jacobi, the relationship between the parents of players and Coach Ferge was one of the biggest issues this football season and one of the deciding factors in not continuing Coach Ferge’s contract into next season.

“We received complaints and concerns from parents, and Mr. Paulson brought it to my attention. There was a breaking point and it would have been very difficult to repair relationships with parents” said Mrs. Jacobi.

This has not been the first time communication on the team has been an issue. Communication issues surfaced during the 2017 Hodag football season creating problems for the team and team relationships.

“We discussed concerns with communication issues at the end of the 2017 football season, and [Mr.] Paulson went over with [Mr.] Ferge on how to improve communication with parents, coaches, and kids.” said Jacobi.

Rhinelander football player, Drake Martin is optimistic, though, about the Hodag’s future, having been coached by Mr. Ferge for the past three years, but also understands why his contract was not renewed.

“I feel like this next year is going to be the stepping stone for the future, we can change the culture. I feel like we’re gonna win a lot of games…I like the guy and I grew close to him, and he helped me out, but I understand why people were mad about communication,” said Drake Martin.

The high school is not yet looking for a replacement, but will start the search later this winter and into spring.

“We will be posting for a PE and head football coach position but that will not be posted until late winter or spring” said Mrs. Jacobi.

Martin thinks a new head coaching position is the right thing for the program after the rough patches in the previous years and hopes the new coach will do better.

“I think it’s gonna be positive because I think we’re gonna get behind this new coach and do well…I hope he expects more from us,” said Martin.

Players are optimistic about this change in staffing  and are looking forward to the future of the program. The district is hoping to hire a new head coach by April.

Coach Ferge sent a statement to WJFW TV 12 talking about the future of the team and expressing hopefulness for the team’s success.

“I would like to thank all the players, coaches and parents. It was an honor to coach your son or daughter. Thank you to the administration for the opportunity to be a head football coach. I wish all the remaining players and coaches the best in the upcoming season. I pray that the team comes together. I will always Believe in Rhinelander, ask for One More, be All In and Walk the Path.” read Coach Ferge’s statement to WJFW.

(Nathan Kempf contributed to this story, but withheld his name from publication to avoid a possible conflict of interest since he is a member of the Hodag football team.) 

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