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Jeff Matczak of Kaukauna High School (WI) named 2021-22 NFHS National Wrestling Coach of the Year

by Bruce Howard, NFHS

Jeff Matczak of Kaukauna High School in Wisconsin (standing in photo) and the NFHS logo.
Jeff Matczak of Kaukauna High School in Wisconsin (standing in photo). Photo from Paul Stumpf Facebook page

USA Wrestling member Jeff Matczak, coach for Kaukauna High School in Wisconsin, has been named the 2021-22 National Wrestling Coach of the Year by National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.

“His biggest asset is the values he teaches within his program. It shines through his athletes. They represent what their community values, which are high-character traits. The winning is a by-product of what he teaches about living the right way,” said Scott Kluever, State Coach Coordinator for the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation, USA Wrestling’s state association in Wisconsin.

NFHS Coaches Association Wrestling Coach of the Year

Jeff Matczak, Kaukauna, Wisconsin

In 31 years as wrestling coach at Kaukauna (Wisconsin) High School, Jeff Matczak has proved to be one of the most accomplished coaches in the state and nation, winning more than 500 meets while losing only 59. Three times he has been named Wisconsin Coach of the Year and, in 2022, was named Northeastern Wisconsin USA Today Coach of the Year. In addition, Matczak is an eight-time district coach of the year and been named Fox Valley Association Coach of the Year 12 times. During his time at Kaukauna, he has also coached baseball and football, and served as athletic director. Matczak is a leader in the wrestling community as a member of the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association and director of the Kaukauna Wrestling Club.

NFHS press release

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (January 16, 2023)— Twenty-three high school coaches from across the country have been selected as 2021-22 National Coaches of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.

The NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982, honors coaches in the top 10 girls sports and top 10 boys sports (by participation numbers), and in two “other” sports – one for boys and one for girls – that are not included in the top 10 listings. The NFHS also recognizes a spirit coach as a separate award category. Winners of NFHS awards must be active coaches during the year for which they receive their award. This year’s awards recognize coaches for the 2021-22 school year.

Besides Matczak, other recipients of the 2021-22 national awards for boys sports are: Billy Bowen, baseball, Durant (Oklahoma) Silo High School; Greg Haagsma, basketball, Chandler (Arizona) Valley Christian High School; Rickey Baker, cross country, Keams Canyon (Arizona) Hopi High School; Greg Grant, 11-player football, Heppner (Oregon) High School; Brendan Patch, golf, Huntington Beach (California) Edison High School; Michael Hagerty, soccer, Yarmouth (Maine) High School; Richard Blanc, swimming and diving, Rancho Santa Margarita (California) Santa Margarita Catholic High School; Josh Munro, tennis, Kalispell (Montana) Glacier High School and Benny Mitchell, track and field, Taos (New Mexico) High School.

The recipients of the 2021-22 NFHS national awards for girls sports are: Mary Klinger, basketball, Somerset (New Jersey) Rutgers Preparatory School; Jill Evers, cross country, Kent City (Michigan) High School; Frank Gallant, golf, Springfield (Missouri) Catholic High School; Tim Godby, lacrosse, Milton (Georgia) High School; William Pfeifer Jr., soccer, Moon Township (Pennsylvania) Moon Area High School; Mark Watt, softball, Lincoln (Nebraska) Southwest High School; Michael Rose, swimming and diving, Brookfield (Wisconsin) East High School; Kirsten Ruchaber, tennis, Portland (Oregon) Jesuit High School; Sue Hysong, track and field, Avondale (Arizona) Westview High School; and Iona Stookey, volleyball, Worden (Montana) Huntley Project High School.

The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award for spirit is Debbie Kishpaugh of Pendleton (Oregon) High School. Dan Shine, an ice hockey coach at Arlington (Massachusetts) Catholic High School, was chosen in the “other” category for boys sports, and Terri Simonetti-Frost, a field hockey coach at Thomas Worthington High School in Worthington, Ohio, was chosen in the “other” category for girls sports.

The NFHS receives nominations from its member state associations, which often works with the state coaches’ association in its respective state. The state association then contacts the potential state award recipients to complete a coach profile form that requests information regarding the coach’s record, membership in and affiliation with coaching and other professional organizations, involvement with other school and community activities and programs, and coaching philosophy. To be approved as an award recipient and considered for sectional and national coach of the year consideration, this profile form must be completed by the coach or designee and then approved by the executive director (or designee) of the state athletic/activities association.

The next award level after state coach of the year is sectional coach of the year. The NFHS is divided into eight geographical sections. They are as follows: Section 1 – Northeast (CT, ME, MA, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT); Section 2 – Mideast (DE, DC, KY, MD, OH, PA, VA, WV); Section 3 – South (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN); Section 4 – Central (IL, IN, IA, MI, WI); Section 5 – Midwest (KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD); Section 6 – Southwest (AR, CO, NM, OK, TX); Section 7 – West (AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT); and Section 8 – Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY).

The NFHS Coaches Association has an advisory committee composed of a chair and eight sectional representatives. The sectional committee representatives evaluate the state award recipients from the states in their respective sections and select the best candidates for the sectional award in each sport category. The NFHS Coaches Association Advisory Committee then considers the sectional candidates in each sport, ranks them according to a point system, and determines a national winner for each of the 20 sport categories, the spirit category and two “other” categories.

A total of 870 coaches will be recognized this year with state, sectional and national awards.