AN UNUSUAL WAY TO THE HALL OF FAME

In 1997 or 1998 I was using the fairly new, virgin, world wide web. I was searching for as much information about high school football, Wisconsin as well as national stories. I searched for football records in all places including state athletic organizations. I ran across the WIAA web site and found a listing for school’s information. Overtime, after Todd Clark, WIAA Director of Communications, must have revamped the site because the information on the web there is much improved and is easier to use. I took that directory and sent out massive amounts of e-mails asking coaches to send me records and to send me stats each week during the season. I got a fair response, and I began to do weekly/season leader lists. I continued to send e-mail requests each season.


In 2003, the new head coach at Big Foot, having just moved from Almond-Bancroft and he began sending stats weekly. Rodney Wedig didn’t just send me a short list but his running seasonal stats sheet. He sent me everything but the kitchen sink. I wished everyone would have done that. Rodney and I would e-mail each other every now and then over the years.


In 2014 I read a story about him leaving Big Foot and taking the head job at Beloit Memorial and we conversed some more about the new challenges he faced after leaving a successful program. I wished him success and we didn’t write each other for the next nine years. I hadn’t kept track of him, but I knew that he hadn’t fared well at Memorial. Then, this past March Rodney sent me a message and a file with his coaching record. I was unaware that he had been named to the 2022 class of the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. I then learned that he had moved on from Memorial to Milton. I congratulated him being named to the HOF and noted that his file showed the most remarkable record. It was unusual to say the least and is probably one of a kind.


WFCA Hall of Fame Picture


The file showed his season by season coaching record for his four stops…Almond-Bancroft, Big Foot, Beloit Memorial and Milton. If you could see the chart 9Hard to replicate here), you would find that he has coached every possible record, other than ties, for wins…from 0(Zero) to 14 wins.


In 1995, his first year as a head coach, Almond-Bancroft went 0-9, as also happened at Beloit in 2014 and 2015.

In 2016 Beloit won their only game in a 1-9 season as they won the end of the season matchup with Racine Park in a game between two winless teams that failed to make the playoffs.


His 1999 at A-B and 2018 at Beloit his teams won 2-games…2-7 records.


Next up is his two three-win seasons. 3-6 at A-B in 1998 and 3-7 at Beloit in 2017 (Also with a season ending matchup with Park).


Four wins in 1995 and 2000 at A-B and 2021 at Milton.


He collected 5-wins in each of the 2001 season at A-B, twice at Big Foot (2004 & 2005) and at Milton in 2020 during a COVID shortened season. Three seasons were 5-5 as the teams made the playoffs and 5-2 in 2020 when there were no playoffs.


In his first season at Big Foot in 2003 the team marched to a 6-4 and their first ever playoff appearance.

1997 saw Wedig direct Almond-Bancroft to their first ever playoff appearance as they finished 7-3.

2006 brought his first 8-win season as Big Foot advanced to the second round of the playoffs with an 8-3 record.


After posting a 2-7 season at Beloit in 2018, Wedig directed Milton to a 9-2 in his first season there.

Big Foot posted three 10-win seasons…10-1 in 2007, 10-3 in 2010 and a 10-1 year in 2011.


His final year at Almond-Bancroft, 2002, Coach Wedig posted an 11-1 season just as he did in his final year at Big Foot, in 2013.


2012 Big Foot went 12-1 as they battled Somerset in an overtime loss. 35-33 in the state finals.

A 13-1 season occurred as Big Foot made it to the state finals but bowed to Wautoma 20-0.

The crowning season was in 2009 as Big Foot mauled Kewaunee 42-13 for the championship.


Coach Wedig and I talked in May about his career and the upcoming season. You can see that his teams have made the playoffs 16 times, won nine conference titles and a state championship. Not bad for a guy who played football, basketball and baseball at little Belmont High School. Rodney attended Southwest State University in Marshall Minnesota in 1992. He took a job out of college to teach and coach at Holy Redeemer School in Marshall. He then moved back to Wisconsin and became an assistant football and head girls’ basketball coach at Green Lake.


Rodney worked part time for the Oshkosh Northwestern newspaper and in 1995 received his first head coaching position at Almond-Bancroft. As noted above his first season was a winless one but he won his first game in 1996 as the Eagles finished 4-5. He finished there with a 36-41 record, but it was his 2002 season record of 11-1 that allowed him to find a better coaching spot. That was in Walworth at Big Foot.


After going 6-4 in his first season there, his teams continued to make progress and the playoffs. 11 straight seasons into the playoffs and seven consecutive conference titles. From 2006 through 2013 the Indians were always in the hunt for titles and advancing deep into the playoffs. As at other schools he has used variations of the double-wing and the spread offenses, often with a no-huddle look. At Big Foot he had great linemen who could open huge holes. At his first two stops he was able to “sell the program” to his players, the schools and the community. While at Big Foot he coached running back Mason Dixon who was the WFCA State Player of the Year in 2012. Mason went on to star at Beloit college and is a policeman in southern Illinois. One of his star linemen was former All-Pro center Travis Frederick who played for the Dallas Cowboys'.


Beloit was another story. After going 103-26 at Big Foot, he was only able to garner a 6-41 record at Beloit. While the school has been able to produce some very good individual players that moved on to the college ranks. It has been before 2002 (As far back as I could trace on WisSports.net) that the school has posted a winning season. They have mostly in that 20-year period gone 0-9 or 1-8. A tough nut to crack for anyone.

So, in 2019 he moved to take over at Milton. The team was loaded with seniors who the year before posted only a 3-6 record but under Coach Wedig they progressed to 9-2. Their season ending loss was to always tough Waunakee, 35-28 in the second round of the playoffs. Being in the Badger-South was always tough for Milton but they usually could hold their own with the likes of Watertown, Stoughton, Monona Grove and Edgewood. That’s not to say that Fort Atkinson, Oregon and Monroe were pushovers. But 2020 brought realignment to the league and a move to the Badger-North and now they face Waunakee on a yearly basis and then realignment again in 2022 brings Sun Prairie East and Sun Prairie West into the picture. He does return this season four defensive starters and seven on offense, all linemen so the Red Hawks hope to hold their own. In three seasons at Milton Coach Wedig has posted an 18-10 record.


Rodney was very gracious to spend time in talking to me and I thank him. I asked about his family and his two daughters, Kayleigh and Kelsey played basketball at Big Foot and his three sons played there as well. Jacob was a quarterback and Gus and Matthew were linebackers. Gus played at UM-Duluth and Matthew at Illinois State. He has been married to Tammy for 31-years.


Overall, at age 55, Coach has a 163-118 record going into the 2022 season with more wins to come. It was a pleasure in talking to him and it certainly was an unusual career record to look at as he made his way to the HOF.