MAYVILLE | Joe Gibbs retired as Washington Redskins head coach in 1992 only to return in 2004 to try and guide the once-proud Skins from the depths of despair.
Bill Snyder did the same thing at Kansas State, retiring in 2005 but returning in 2009 to jumpstart the program he spent the 1990s and early 2000s building from the ground up.
Now, Tom Noennig is following in their footsteps at Mayville High School.
Noennig, who during a four-year run as head coach of the Cardinals’ prep football team from 2004 to 2007 guided the Cards to the WIAA Division 4 state championship game in 2006 and their most recent Flyway Conference championship in 2007 before leaving the program, has been named the new head coach, according to a press release sent out by Mayville Activities Director Joel Wondra.
“We are thrilled for Tom to return to Mayville to lead our football program,” Wondra stated in the press release. “Coach Noennig is a proven football expert, and his command of the game, commitment to success, and genuine care for his players and their families are critical elements of the skillset that we believe is necessary to enrich the football tradition in Mayville.”
Noennig, whose record at Mayville in that previous four-year stint was a 29-16, will also be the strength and conditioning coordinator for the Mayville School District.
“I’m excited to return to Mayville and to begin rebuilding the football team to the respectable, winning program that it has long been known for,” he said. “This position was appealing to me mostly because of the great support that this community has shown to its football program, as well as all of its other athletic teams.”
Noennig was formally approved for both positions by the Mayville Board of Education on Monday at its regular meeting.
According to the press release, he will begin immediately and intends to meet individually with each returning player and their family. Also tops on his priority list is to assemble a coaching staff and implement an offseason strength and conditioning program.
Noennig was head coach at Hartford for the last seven seasons (2009-2015) and had a 28-38 record with playoff appearances in 2009, 2010 – the Orioles advanced to the second round that year – and 2014.
Meantime, Mayville went 6-5 and advanced to the second round of the playoffs in 2008 and went 5-5 with a first-round playoff loss in 2009 – but has a 12-43 record over the last six seasons, including a 2-7 mark last season.
Making matters more frustrating for the Cardinals, their recent struggles come on the heels of a two-decade run off success from 1987 to 2008 that included postseason appearances in every season but 1990 and 2005 – and D4 state title game appearances in 1991, 1992, 1994, and 2006 with a championship in ’94. Mayville’s football program has the sixth most all-time wins in the state (516).
But the program hit rock bottom in 2015, when head coach Mark Pankow left the program on Aug. 14 before formally resigning on Aug. 20. That set in motion a chain of events that led the Cardinals to utilize three more head coaches – two were assigned the title of co-head coach – before the season mercifully ended with a 2-7 record following a 55-0 loss to state powerhouse Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs.
Pankow was set to enter his fifth season as Cardinals’ head coach, with an 8-29 record over the previous four seasons.
Noennig and his wife Deb, who is also a teacher at Mayville High School, reside in Rubicon with their children Tommy and Samantha.