2014 Jeff Matczak Kaukauna (Small).jpgJeff Matczak, son of Bernard and Pat Matczak, is the fourth oldest of seven children raised on their dairy farm in southern Oconto County. They desired for their children to be educated in the Pulaski Community School District and graduate as Red Raiders.

Jeff enjoyed and played various sports through his youth. After following his older brother John into wrestling at Fairview Elementary School in the late 1970’s, and then attending his first Pulaski Invitational and high school dual meet, he fell in love with the sport. At the time Pulaski was lead by Jim Ritchie, a 1979 Hall of Fame inductee, who was followed up by Joe Kind in 1980. After great success, Kind too was also inducted in 1994. These two men, along with many other tremendous people within the Pulaski program were influential in directing Jeff’s future path. A graduate of Pulaski in 1986, Jeff won the Dr. S.F. Brusky Award presented to the outstanding male athlete. He earned nine letters in baseball, football, and wrestling and was named captain of all three teams, earning MVP and All-Bay Conference accolades. He followed John as a winner of the Brusky Award in 1984, and led his younger brother Joe to win the award in 1997.

Following his three eldest siblings to attend college and enter the field of education, Jeff chose UW-Oshkosh. There he competed in wrestling for Coach Terry Barth, who was influential in his decision to enter the College of Health and Physical Education. He graduated with a BA in Education in 1991 and earned NCAA Academic All-American honors, the Wisconsin State University Conference Scholar-Athlete Award, and was one of two recipients of the UW-Oshkosh Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. He represented the university at the NCAA Division III National Tournament after winning the Great Lakes Regional Tournament at 150 pounds.

In the summer of 1991 Jeff accepted his only teaching position with the Kaukauna Area School District. He taught Physical Education at three schools and coached JV football, volunteer assistant wrestling, and head freshman baseball his first year. He continued to coach baseball at the freshman and varsity levels for nine seasons and football for four seasons. But it was the relationships he built with Kaukauna’s wrestling members early on that sparked his interest. Primarily two people, the late Don Kilgas and 2012 Hall of Fame inductee Steve McDaniel, were instrumental in taking over a Kaukauna program that struggled throughout the 1970’s and made it a winner in 1982. After the retirement of Kilgas in 1992, Jeff entered into a rather unique at the time co-coaching position with McDaniel. The combination allowed the program to prosper and it became very apparent what can happen when school and community, vision and history, and change and tradition come together. The combination continued until the 2001 season and during that nine year period the program accomplished many milestones. McDaniel continues to be a valuable mentor within the program today.

After 22 seasons, Jeff has been blessed with many excellent assistant coaches, all dedicated and talented. Brian Sanderfoot, Bob Koehler, and Chris McDaniel have each assisted Jeff for a decade or more. They are all great family men built for others and are responsible for Kaukauna’s sustained success. Numerous other high school, middle school, and youth coaches have left their marks on the program as well. In 1998 Jeff was fortunate to welcome his friend and Kaukauna wrestling alumni, Scott Kluever, back to Kaukauna. Kluever had this crazy idea of starting a new tournament that would attract powerhouse teams from Wisconsin and all across the country. He wanted to call it the Cheesehead. Kluever continues to coach the Riverview Eagles Middle School team today, and throughout the years has supported and worked very hard toward everything envisioned for the program.

Since 1993, Kaukauna has won 16 Fox Valley Association, 18 Regional, and 12 Sectional Championships. In 12 trips to the Team State Tournament since 1995, Kaukauna has advanced to nine Final Fours, five State Championship matches, and captured the school’s first State Championship in 2014. Jeff’s dual meet record during the past 22 years is 359-49-2.

From an individual standpoint, over 200 Galloping Ghosts have earned All-Conference recognition, exactly 100 have won FVA Tournament Championships, 115 have qualified for the state tournament, 50 reached the medal stand, and 11 were crowned State Champions during Jeff’s tenure as head coach. In 2008 Kaukauna was recognized by the WWCA as the Division 1 Individual State Tournament Champions. Countless Ghosts have gone on to compete in the NJCAA and NCAA at all three levels. Kaukauna has seen recent alumni place at the Big 10 Tournament, qualify for the NCAA DI tournament, and become four-time NCAA All-Americans.

Some of the things Jeff has helped to create and promote to improve wrestling in the Kaukauna area are: an After School Elementary Program at all the district schools; a middle school wrestling program, Kaukauna Recreation Department youth programs, certified paid coaches at all levels of Kaukauna Wrestling, Kangaroo Wrestling Club for Olympic style training, a state of the art wrestling room, a middle school wrestling room, Top Notch Summer Camps, Ghost Trained summer sessions for elite youth, host of Fox Valley Elite year round development, host of TNT, Lethal Weapon, and WWF training Camps.

But it is outside of Kaukauna where the Ghosts have been noticed under Jeff’s leadership. His teams have recently competed in the best high school tournaments in North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. Success against honorable programs from around the country has earned the Ghosts national rankings on three separate occasions (2001, 2008, and 2014).

Jeff was selected Coach of the Year eleven times by his peers in the Fox Valley Association and three times by the WWCA District 4 coaches. In 2014 he was selected as the WWCA State Coach of the Year. In 2008 he was inducted into the Kaukauna Athletic Hall of Fame. That same year he was selected as one of four coaches of the Wisconsin team invited to compete at the Dapper Dan Classic in Pittsburgh against a team from the Greater Pittsburgh Area (WPIAL).

Jeff is entering his 24th year of teaching Physical Education at KHS. He received his MA Degree in Sports Administration from UW-Lacrosse in 1998. He served as interim Athletic Director for one year and Associate Athletic Director at KHS for four years. He is a Certified High School Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Youth Fitness Specialist, and has attended and presented at the Silver Level Coach College of USA wrestling, and aspires to earn his Gold Level Coaching certification. He is serving his sixth year as District 4 Representative of the WWCA.

Jeff has been married to his wife Kim, also a teacher at KHS, for 14 years. They have a home in Kaukauna where they passionately raise boxer dogs.