Louis Brown of Franklin High School has been named the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association (WFCA)/Green Bay Packers Coach of the Year.
Brown’s 11th season as the head coach of Franklin High School ended with the school’s second football state championship. On Nov. 19, the Sabers completed a perfect 14-0 season with a 38-17 victory over Sun Prairie in the WIAA Division 1 state championship at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. Late in the first quarter, the game was tied 3-3 until quarterback Myles Burkett connected with receiver Reese Osgood for an 88-yard touchdown. From there, Brown and the Sabers took control of the game and never looked back as they hoisted the golden football trophy for the first time since 2006. Brown was the defensive coordinator for the 2006 state championship team, and was head coach in 2013 and 2016 when Franklin was state runner-up. For Brown, the senior leadership that this team had and their ability to persevere this season is what really set them apart.
“Any time you win a state title, it starts with a great group of leaders, and a great senior class,” Brown said. “We felt very shortchanged (last) fall with all the COVID stuff, we only ended up getting five games in. Then they did a two-round playoff; we were going to be in with a couple of other really good teams, then our school shut down and they shut down football. I think a lot of those juniors felt—and obviously the seniors that graduated did—really shortchanged and that helped motivate them in the offseason. And it was tough, we came in ranked No. 1 in the state, and we had the target on our back. We scheduled a very tough Appleton North team that we ended up playing twice this year and we had our backs against the wall in both of those games. But this is a special group of kids that don’t quit, and they played to the last whistle.”
Brown was born into a military family that relocated several times during his childhood until the family settled in Waterloo, Wis., where he graduated from Waterloo High School in 1986. While in high school, Brown participated in football, wrestling and baseball. He was a defensive back under WFCA Hall of Fame Coach Doug Miller. Brown went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from UW-La Crosse in 1991, and his master’s degree from UW-Whitewater in 2000. His coaching career began as a freshman football coach for Kankakee High School in Illinois, in 1991. After one year, he took an assistant coaching position at Franklin. In 2011, Brown was named head coach of the Sabers.
Brown credits the Coach of the Year Award to everyone involved with the Franklin football program.
“Really, it’s reflective of my assistant coaches,” Brown said. “My offensive coordinator and my defensive coordinator are both tremendous coaches. I think they both could be head coaches someday. I’m very lucky to have Brent Thoen and Drew Ambrose. It’s very humbling; the main reason I coach is watching the success of teenage boys become young men. But then to have fellow coaches acknowledge how hard you’ve worked, you know your wives always know how hard you work, your kids know, your community knows, but it’s cool to have the state know. So, it’s very gratifying for sure.”
Brown and his staff oversee a program of 140 players, including a varsity roster of 60 to 70 players. His assistant coaching staff includes Mike Beck, Evan Walton, Ken Wiske, Mike Wrench, Tom Zganjar, Brent Thoen, Jordan Stephans, Dustin Devine, Jeremy Bergum, Jacob Haskell, Drew Ambrose, Mark Endres and Alex Smith. In addition to coaching, Brown is also a physical education teacher at Franklin High School. Brown and his wife, Lynn, have two sons, Louden and Logan.
About the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Year/Week Program:
In recognition of the honor, the Packers will award a $2,000 donation to the Franklin football program from the Green Bay Packers and the NFL. Brown will be honored at the WFCA All-State Banquet in the Lambeau Field Atrium. This marks the 24th year both the Green Bay Packers and WFCA have awarded the honor together. The WFCA has awarded a Coach of the Year since 1976, while the Packers have presented the same award since 1998, in addition to the Coach of the Week program. More information regarding this award, the All-State team and the WFCA is available at www.wifca.org