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New Berlin Eisenhower football coach steps down

Setz compiled a 134-71 record in two stints

Jan. 13, 2014

(Editor's note: Setz felt uncomfortable talking about himself, but he sent information on his career.)

New Berlin Eisenhower's Jeff Setz stepped down last week as head football coach, a position he has held since 1991.

Setz, who will continue to coach the softball program, was initially hired as a mathematics teacher at Eisenhower in 1973. He started coaching football in the middle school football program, joined the high school staff three years later, finally joining the varsity staff in 1981. He took over as head coach 10 years later.

"Coach Setz has been a staple at Ike since 1973 and his legacy goes beyond the state titles and conference championships he brought to Eisenhower," said Kevin Fitzgerald, athletics & activies director.

"Coach has made an impact on thousands as an educator, coach and mentor. Over the past few days, I've heard a number of different Coach Setz stories which refer to his legendary pregame speeches, motivational tactics and his love for the kids that have gone through his program. We will forever be grateful for his devotion and passion for Ike football."

Heading to high school

After coaching in the middle school program, Setz moved to the high school level in 1976, working with the freshmen and junior varsity teams.

Setz was moved to the varsity in 1981 where he coached the offensive linemen, being promoted to defensive coordinator in 1983. In his seven years as an assistant, Eisenhower reached the WIAA State Finals at Camp Randall in Division 2 twice (1986 and 1989).

Setz was named as the head coach in 1991 at Eisenhower, compiling a record of 100-47 before stepping down in 2005. Setz led his teams to back-to-back WIAA State Championships in Division 3 (1995 and 1996) and back-to-back Woodland Conference titles (2002 and 2003). His teams qualified for the WIAA playoffs in 11 out of 14 years.

In 2007 Setz was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Hall of Fame.

Upon returning in 2008, Setz compiled a record of 34-24, including an overall record of 134-71.

The Lions were 7-3 overall, 7-1, tied for second in the Woodland and making the playoffs in 2008 his first year back. In 2009 they were 9-2 overall and made the playoffs and won conference with a 5-0 record.

Eisenhower stumbled in 2010, finishing 3-6 overall and taking sixth in conference with a 1-4 record, but they bounced back in 2011 with an 8-3 record and made the playoffs for the final time under Setz. They were 4-1 in the conference, good enough for second place.

The Lions struggled the last two years, finishing 3-5, tied for fifth place in 2012 and 4-5 overall and 2-4 in conference play, tied for fifth once again.

Bigger picture

But what made Setz special was the way he looked at the big picture as a coach and a teacher.

"He is a huge part of education, a big part of the New Berlin program," the Lions' veteran boys basketball coach Dave Scheidegger said. "He touched so many kids' lives.

"We are all very proud of the influence he's had; the commitment he has given to these young people. He has been a leader in community. The time he has put in helping students in the community is unbelievable. He's an icon."

Fitzgerald talked about the new era the Lions football will need to start.

"As I told the returning players on Thursday afternoon, they have been presented with a great opportunity to start a new era of Ike football," he said.

"We will build on the tradition of this program and great success ahead of us. Our next coach will inherent a talented group of kids and a supportive community.

"If we can find an educator, coach and mentor with the traits of Coach Setz, we'll be in good shape."

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