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Scott Hilber

Columbus head coach Scott Hilber (facing) is pictured during the Cardinals' 17-14 win over River Valley in a Division 4 second round playoff game in 2015. 

COLUMBUS – The Columbus prep football team will have a new head coach next season – but don’t expect much of a step backward.

The Cardinals’ now-former coach doesn’t.

“I may have worn the title of head coach at CHS, but I was only one small piece to a very large puzzle,” said Scott Hilber, whose resignation was approved by the Columbus School District Board of Education on Monday night at its regular meeting. “The sacrifices made behind the scenes here are astonishing. I assure you the heartbeat of Columbus Football is intact and this program will continue to accomplish great things.”

Hilber – who this past season led Columbus to its first conference title since 2003 and compiled a 35-10 record in four years at the helm after coming from Nekoosa, where he had a successful 10-year reign – said in the statement he resigned for “personal reasons not connected to football.”

“I do not believe I can physically or emotionally fulfill the duties required to meet the high expectations this program demands and deserves,” he said. “This is not the end of the road for me in terms of my involvement with football, but my current life requires flexibilities that are just not sustainable for the leader of a program that strives to reach the highest levels of achievement.”

Hilber’s time as head coach for the Cardinals – whose last winning season prior to his first year was 9-2 in 2004 – included trips to the state quarterfinals the last two years and a win over rival Lodi this year for the first time since 2004. The Cardinals were a perfect 5-0 in the Capitol North Conference this year and finished 11-1 overall after losing in the playoffs to eventual Division 5 state runner-up Cedar Grove-Belgium.

The Mayville native led a similar restoration project at Nekoosa, which went winless his first two years there in 2003 and 2004 before making the playoffs for the first time in a decade in 2005. In his last four years there, the Papermakers were 32-14 and won four straight South Central Conference championships with a 19-1 record.

He leaves his post in charge of the Cardinals with nothing but good things to say.

“Columbus is a wonderful place to coach and I have enjoyed my time here immensely,” he said in the statement. “The administration, parents, community, and student body have been incredibly supportive. Our youth program and booster clubs are well organized and generous. Finally, our coaching staff and players have been unbelievable in their preparation and dedication to this program.

“I really couldn’t have asked for more from anyone associated with Columbus football. I have been thoroughly impressed.”

Follow Dan on Twitter @Danny_Larson_8.

Assistant Regional Sports Editor

Capital Newspapers Assistant Regional Sports Editor

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