The Green Bay Packers have announced that Rob Nelles of Cambridge High School in Cambridge, Wis., has been named the Packers High School Coach of the Week. The program is presented by Buffalo Wild Wings.
In his first year as the varsity head coach at Cambridge, Nelles took over a Blue Jays team that finished last year with a 1-8 record. Looking to improve on last year’s record, players declared this season to be their “Revenge Tour.” To add some fun to the players’ newly titled season, Nelles hung a list of the teams that beat the Blue Jays in 2022 in the locker room. After every win against a team that defeated them last year, Nelles and the team tear down the team names from the board. While all the names haven’t been removed, another one fell this past Friday night when the Blue Jays beat the conference-leading Marshall Cardinals, 44-22, to improve their record to 4-3 overall on the season.
“One of the goals of the program [this year] was to get the weight room atmosphere going again,” said Nelles. “We were close to about 70-80 percent showing up in the weight room over the offseason. The guys have really bought in, our senior leaders have done a great job and our junior class has some leaders too. They’ve just responded well to the tour that they came up with on their own.”
While the team has made vast improvements on the field this year, Nelles has also implemented some changes that have made a huge difference in the classroom. As a way for players to be recognized for their good grades and positive impact around the school, Nelles created a sticker program for players to add “Blue Jay Tracks” to their helmets. These badges of honor have resulted in great academic grades for the team as a whole. The program has also been very well received by the teachers as they now have more access to the players through player study halls and being able to recognize them for their efforts when they do something special, kind or go out of their way to make another person’s day. Players can also receive Team Blue Jay Tracks for their performance on the field.
Nelles graduated from Marshfield Senior High School in 1991. As a member of the Tigers, Nelles played defensive line and linebacker under Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame member, Tom Knauf. Following high school, Nelles served in the U.S. Air Force for five years. After his military enlistment, Nelles went on to graduate from UW-La Crosse in 2003 with a degree in physical education, followed by a degree in special education from Edgewood College in Madison, Wis., in 2008. Nelles’ coaching career began as an assistant coach in 1998 at Marshfield Columbus Catholic High School. Before coming to Cambridge in 2006, Nelles also held assistant coaching positions at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School in Galesville, Wis., Edgewood High School in Madison, Wis., and Parkview High School in Orfordville, Wis. Nelles had been an assistant coach for the Blue Jays for the past 17 years before he was named the head coach prior to this season.
Nelles and his staff oversee a program of 39 players. His assistant staff includes Andrew Downing, John Garlewski, Gavin "Turbo" Reed, Ryan Terland, John Strohbusch, Mike Cunningham, J.T. Parish and Antoine Gray.. In addition to coaching, Nelles is a special education teacher at Cambridge High School. Nelles and his wife, Julie, have two sons, Owain and Ian, and one daughter, Ellie.
About the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week Program:
The Packers will recognize one outstanding high school coach as their ‘Coach of the Week’ winner during the 2023 high school football season. Winners are awarded several items and privileges, including a $2,000 donation to the school’s football program from the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Wild Wings and the NFL Foundation, as well as recognition of the award on packers.com, wissports.net and wifca.org.
Nominations for Coach of the Week should be submitted by 10 a.m. every Monday to Ryan Fencl, Football Outreach Manager, at email@example.com. Please include the nominee’s name, address, school, phone number and reason he/she is deserving of the award.