In this Sept. 13, 2019 file photo, Rhinelander High School football coach Aaron Kraemer talks to his team following a 31-13 win over Wausau East at Mike Webster Stadium. Kraemer on Wednesday was named the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week for leading the Hodags to their first 4-0 start since 1974. (Bob Mainhardt for the River News)
9/21/2019 7:35:00 AM Hodags' Kraemer named Packers prep coach of the week
The accolades keep rolling in for the Rhinelander High School football team which is off to its best start in decades.
The Green Bay Packers announced Wednesday afternoon that Hodag head coach Aaron Kraemer has been named the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week.
According to a press release from the Packers, the program - presented by Jack Link's Protein Snacks - supports football outreach efforts "by giving high school coaches the recognition they deserve."
Kraemer is the first Rhinelander coach to win the award since the program was established in 1997.
Rhinelander was 4-0 on the season for the first time since 1974, and ranked No. 10 in the WisSports.net Division 3 coaches poll, ahead of a matchup Friday night at No. 3 (D3) Medford that concluded after deadline. The four wins matched the 2006 team (4-5) for the most wins for the program since 1994, the team's last winning season.
"For our football program, it means a lot about where we're going as a team," Kraemer said in a statement released by the Packers. "As we go further in the season, I hope that this type of recognition, and recognition for players of the week, continue to motivate us, and make us want more. As a team, we should be proud of all of the nominations and awards that we receive, but there's a lot of season left for us to play and we want to remember that there are a lot more goals that we set out to accomplish."
Kraemer came to Rhinelander in 2014 taking an assistant coaching position under head coach Chris Ferge. He served as the Hodags' offensive coordinator in 2017 and 2018.
In April, Kraemer was named the head coach of the Hodags.
Kraemer grew up in Oshkosh and graduated from Oshkosh North High School in 2007. Throughout high school, he participated in football, baseball, and swimming for the Spartans. Kraemer played center under head coach Chris Kujawa. Following high school, Kraemer went on to play left guard at Lakeland University for head coach Kevin Doherty. He graduated from Lakeland in 2012. Kraemer served as an assistant coach at Lakeland University for two years before coming to Rhinelander.
In his statement to the Packers, Kraemer said he is honored to receive the Coach of the Week Award, but was quick to attribute it to those around him. Kraemer's coaching staff includes two former RHS head football coaches - Ferge (JV2 head coach) and Jim Moore (strength coach).
"For me personally, it's a great honor, but it wouldn't mean anything to me if I didn't have a great coaching staff and amazing family and support system," Kraemer said. "They have helped me through some difficult years, and provided me an opportunity to coach these guys. I love them all a ton, and it was a big leap for our school to pick somebody who was on staff the year before. For them to believe in me, it means everything."
On a weekly basis, for 10 weeks throughout the high school football season, the Packers will select one high school coach as the Coach of the Week. Each honoree will be awarded several items and privileges, including a $2,000 donation to the school's football program from the Green Bay Packers, Jack Link's Protein Snacks and the NFL. Winning coaches will also receive recognition on Packers.com, WisSports.net and Wifca.org, and will be mentioned in the Packers Gameday program.
Kraemer and his staff oversee a program of 63 players, with 42 of them suiting up for varsity games. His assistant staff includes Jarod Benrud, Paul Ellenbecker, Ferge, Tyler Figueroa, Taylor Kloehn, Jeremy Monk, Moore, Cole Oettinger, Mike Roberts, Matt Steingraber and Gary Zarda.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com
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