The Wisconsin Dells High School football team has a new man in charge, as Mike Janke was officially approved as the program’s next head coach at the School District of Wisconsin Dells board meeting on Monday night.
Janke replaces Scott Flood, who resigned last month, ending his two year stint as the school’s head football coach.
Janke is currently in his fifth year as a physical education and health teacher in the district. Over the past five years, Janke has worked in a variety of assistant coaching roles with the football program. During the 2019 football season, Janke was the head coach and defensive coordinator of the Wisconsin Dells junior varsity football team, which finished the season with a perfect 8-0 record. The team’s defense gave up just 58 points on the season.
Janke said he was eager to apply for the job when it came open last month.
“I’ve been working with these kids for about five years now, ever since I moved here,” Janke said. “That was a big driving factor, knowing the kids and being comfortable with that, and obviously just my love to coach and me wanting to be a head coach someday.”
Janke has also served as an assistant coach on the school’s boys basketball program, and also previously coached junior varsity baseball at the school.
“Mr. Janke has excelled at every level and coaching assignment he has been involved with, and a key part of his past success are the relationships he establishes with the student athletes,” Wisconsin Dells activities director Aaron Mack said in a press release sent out on Monday evening.
Janke is a native of Fredonia, where he played four years of football before graduating from Ozaukee High School. When Janke was hired to teach in Wisconsin Dells, he volunteered to coach at the middle school level. That first year on the job, he was coaching many of the kids he will once again be leading with the varsity team this fall.
“It’s been five years. I started at the middle school as a volunteer coach. The seniors have seen me basically all the way through,” Janke said. “The juniors (current sophomores) have been my class. I’ve been their head coach in 7th grade, 8th grade. I moved up to JV with them their freshman and sophomore years, so this upcoming season will be their fifth year with me as their head coach. I am definitely familiar with them and I’m excited to continue to work with them.
“We’ve talked about all these goals since they were little, now it’s fun to be able to be their head coach on Friday nights.”
Janke becomes the program’s third head coach in the past four seasons. Flood went 5-13 in his two seasons in charge of the program, including 2-7 last year. Before Flood, Erik Rosholt coached the Chiefs from 2015 to 2017. In Rosholt’s three seasons, Wisconsin Dells was 4-23.
The last time Wisconsin Dells reached the playoff was in 2012, which was the first season Mack coached the Chiefs. Mack was the head football coach in Wisconsin Dells from 2012 to 2014, compiling a record of 12-15.
Janke said keeping the program’s participation numbers up will be the first step to building a successful program.
“I know the last few years the numbers have gone up, up and up. The participation numbers are good, now we have to reign them in and really get that focus going all in the same direction,” Janke said. “I think we’ve done a good job of building since I got here, especially numbers wise, so now it’s just kind of getting them to play winning football on Friday night.”
Flood’s resignation was approved by the school board last month. In his resignation letter dated March 3, Flood didn’t say why he was stepping down, but said “the time has come for me to resign.”
Flood did say that he enjoyed his time coaching the program.
“I am very thankful to Mr. Mack for giving me the opportunity to shape the leadership and inspire Chief football. It was my pleasure and honor to be part of the program over the last two seasons. Together we assisted the start of a culture change and that is something we can always be proud of,” Flood wrote.
Janke’s first season with the Chiefs will also be the team’s first in a reconfigured South Central Conference. Statewide realignment will make the SCC a seven-team league this fall. Joining Wisconsin Dells in the conference are usual league foes; Adams-Friendship, Mauston, Wautoma and Westfield. Nekoosa is no longer in the conference for football, while Poynette and Montello/Princeton/Green Lake join the league for football only.
The 2020 fall season will also be the first in awhile without Mack as the school’s activities director. Mack was recently hired to be the next head football coach at DeForest High School.
“I’m excited for this opportunity. Hopefully I will have a lot of time on my hands to put everything together coaching staff wise and talking with players and parents,” Janke said on Monday. “I still have a lot to figure out right now, especially with Aaron (Mack) moving on. It will be a fun journey. The first thing I need to do is put together a staff to be successful.”
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