Madison Memorial first-year football coach Michael Harris was named the Green Bay Packers high school coach of the week, the Packers announced.
Harris led the Spartans to a 41-27 victory over host Janesville Craig last Friday, a victory that clinched Memorial’s first Big Eight Conference title since 2009. The Spartans and Sun Prairie each finished 8-1 and shared the conference title. Memorial defeated Sun Prairie; its loss was to Verona.
Second-seeded Memorial will play host to seventh-seeded Sussex Hamilton in a first-round WIAA Division 1 playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday at Mansfield Stadium.
Harris, a 1987 Memorial graduate, competed in football, basketball, wrestling and track and field in high school. He was an offensive and defensive lineman at Memorial.
He played right tackle at UW-Whitewater, graduating in 1992, before beginning his coaching career as an assistant track and field coach at Milwaukee Washington. He was an assistant football coach at Madison West, starting in 1994.
He later became head football coach at Madison La Follette.
Harris said he was honored to share the award with his assistant coaches and players.
“It’s a reiteration of how hard our players and our coaching staff has worked to be able to receive this honor,” Harris said, according to the Packers’ release on Packers.com. “I shared the information with my staff and told them that they’re the real reason why we’re having this success. I want to pass the credit to my staff for really believing in me, and believing in their athletes, and giving their all in the offseason as well as the many hours that they put in off the field to prepare for our games.”
Harris and his staff oversee 132 players, with 82 of them scheduled to suit up for Friday’s playoff game.
His staff includes Dave Hebgen, Chris Ceniti, Ben Mathias, Jeremy Crowell, Bre Braun, Nate Hutchins, Dave Knight, Tim Richardson, Austin Battaglia, Derek Schaefer and Bill Richardson.
In addition to coaching football, Harris teaches English honors and applied literature at Memorial.
Harris and his wife, Chelsea, have a son, Kyan, and a daughter, Anya.
The Packers recognize one outstanding high school coach as their “coach of the week” winner during the 2018 high school football season.
Winners are awarded several items, including a $2,000 donation to the school’s football program from the Green Bay Packers, Jack Link’s Protein Snacks and the NFL Foundation, as well as recognition of the award on Packers.com, Wissports.net and Wifca.org.
Winning coaches also take part in the Jack Link’s “high school coach of the week game ball delivery,” where they will hand the game ball over to a member of the Packers staff or referee prior to a regular-season home game.