Wheeler football coach Dan Klimczak directs the team during an afternoon scrimmage as they prepare for their sectional game.
Seeing the faces and hearing the stories at his
grandfather's funeral, Dan Klimczak
knew then he
wanted to be a high school football coach.
The revelation came when he
was 16 years old and in his
sophomore year at South Central High School
heard how his
grandfather had influenced former Slicers players, how he
had served as a mentor to so many different people over the years.
"It was Christmas Eve, and there were scores of his
ex-players there," Dan Klimczak
At the age of 33, Klimczak
is in his
fourth season as the head football coach at Wheeler
In 44 games, his
Bearcats have won 36 of them and lost just eight.
travels to Rensselaer tonight to play in its second-ever sectional championship game.
The first came two years ago under Klimczak's
"I really do think that success is contagious and the attitude that players possess going into the games and the offseason is contagious," Klimczak
, of course, points to the staff of coaches he's
built around him.
took over the program, only one holdover from the previous coaching staff remained.
"I have a trusting relationship with my brother and my best friend," Klimczak
"It's just a great situation," Klimczak
"We're all buddies, but we're here to do a job, and we work well together."
talks about "buy-in" and how the players truly listen to their coaches and mentally digest what they're being told.
It's not a matter of reinventing the wheel in terms of coaching, but it probably has something to do with the way Klimczak and his
coaching staff relate to their players.
"The support structure we have is tremendous; I can't say enough about it," Klimczak
Perhaps it's fitting that Klimczak
has taken over such a young program at such a young stage in his
undoubtedly is leaving his
impression on the program, but it seems to be leaving one on him, too.
"It's been really neat stepping into a program that's still in its infancy that had a great groundwork already set and to step in and take the reins and say, 'Here's where we're going now,' " Klimczak