Forty seasons of ‘Koronk’
Coach honored at Homecoming game
By Greg Seubert
It’s been a long time since John Koronkiewicz wasn’t on the sidelines for a Waupaca Comets football game.
He was there again Oct. 2 at Haberkorn Field for the team’s Homecoming game against Shawano, but this game – a 46-6 win – was special.
It was probably the final home game of Koronkiewicz’s 40th season of coaching football at Waupaca High School, the last 32 as varsity coach.
His staff has included nearly 50 assistant coaches, statisticians and others over the years and several of them were at the game.
“I don’t know where 40 years went, but obviously, they’ve gone by,” Koronkiewicz said. “You kind of scratch your head and say, ‘How did that happen?’ If you just plug away, I guess it does. That’s what I’ve been able to do.”
Some of the staff members spent only a year with the team, but others, like Steve Zube (1984-2013), the late Barrie Lutze (1976-2013), Mike Waldschmidt (1987-present), Tom Noltner (1990-present) and Glenn Scholz (1992-present) were on board for the Comets’ five trips to the state finals that included Division 3 championships in 2006 and 2008.
“It really was a fun night,” Koronkiewicz said. “It was pretty good to see all those old guys.”
The Comets needed a win over Shawano to make the playoffs for the 25th straight season, the state’s second-longest streak of consecutive playoff appearances.
“I was nervous all day, to be honest with you,” Koronkiewicz said. “My stomach was churning and I started to pace toward the end of the day. The kids keep you young. (Football) is such a great game. It’s kind of in my blood.”
Even Koronkiewicz’s grandson, Cam, got into the act after the game.
“I’m sure he’ll want to ride back with Grandpa on the bus,” he said. “That’s a big deal.”