Stoughton High School athletic director Mel Dow has announced the hiring of five head coaches, including two who will take over fall sports teams when practice begins in August.
Jason Becker has been named the Vikings’ new football coach, replacing Dan Prahl. Becker previously served two years as associate head coach and offensive coordinator under Prahl.
A native of Rio, Becker served as an assistant coach at Nekoosa before taking over as head coach from 2013 through 2015.
Last year, the Vikings went 8-3 and tied Milton for the Badger South Conference title at 6-1. The Vikings lost, 14-7, to Monroe in the second round of the WIAA Division 2 playoffs.
Under Becker’s direction, the Vikings averaged 389 yards of offense and 33.5 points per game last season, led by senior quarterback Adam Hobson, named the Badger South Offensive Player of the Year.
Stoughton expects to have some impressive returnees next fall. Back on offense are second-team running back Brooks Empey, second-team center Zach Wahlin and honorable mention receiver Jack Rilling.
Empey also was a first-team pick on defense as an edge player, earning co-Defensive Lineman of the Year honors in the Badger South. Also expected back are first-team linebacker Rudy Detweiler, first-team defensive back Jonah O’Connor, second-team down lineman Barrett Nelson (a junior this fall), second-team defensive back Teddy Baldukas, honorable mention lineman Curtis Jaskulski and honorable mention linebacker Luke Mechler.
“I believe we have nine guys returning on defense and a handful of guys back on offense,” Becker said. “That core of guys coming back, plus some solid underclassmen, make this a good group and we expect to have a good football team.”
Becker doesn’t plan any major changes in the look of the Vikings. “You’re going to see a few tweaks in the offense, based on personnel,” he said. “We’ll have a quarterback battle in practice, and based on who wins that, that’ll affect the pass-run balance a little bit.”
More than anything, Becker hopes to provide a stable change of leadership in a year full of doubt because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the statewide football conference realignment that now has the Vikings in the Badger Small Conference, instead of the Badger South.
“With all the unknowns coming into the season, we’re certainly glad to have this number of (experienced) athletes back,” he said.
Stoughton’s other coaching changes:
• Seth Petersen has been named the Vikings’ new girls golf coach, replacing Stephen Stokes. The Vikings’ top returnee is senior-to-be Caylie Kotlowski, who earned fourth and 34th places, respectively, in the last two WIAA Division 1 state tournaments.
• Justin Packard has taking over as Stoughton’s new head girls soccer coach, taking over for Michael McIntosh.
• Nate Nelson is moving over from the head coaching spot of the girls track and field team to take over the boys program from the departing Trevor Kramolis.
• Susan Zaemisch is taking over as the Vikings' new head girls track and field coach. Zaemisch also serves as the Vikings’ head girls cross country coach.
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