Welcome to your little corner of the world. This area will only be designated for past alumni of Greendale High School. We encourage anyone that may have stories to please submit them. You could share something about the past or even the present. There are many people that frequent this site including many past alumni. What better place to meet or tell the rest of us where and what you have been doing. To submit stories, just click here!
The List of Honor
as of 10/14/11
Below is a list of alumni that have reported in thus far, or are in our database. These are the guys that have jointly sacrificed their bodies for the good of the team at good old GHS.
If there is anybody out there that knows the whereabouts of more alumni, including families, make sure you let that Panther know so that they can get in touch with us. This means ANYBODY that has played football and graduated. Our goal is to make this list scroll forever. With the help and support of this membership, we can make Greendale the most famous high school football program in the state of Wisconsin.
Click here if any alumni would like to contact one of the guys on this list. This will invoke an email of which all you would have to do is request that person's email address. That address will then be emailed back to you as soon as possible. The idea here is to get everyone in touch with everybody once again. If you don't see your name on this list, click "here" (above) as well and join the club.
Note: If the name below is in bold green, that means that we do not have an email for them. Alumni, if you see that your name is green, make sure that you get that in so you can be contacted. Also, please help us out with any missing data.
|Di Vilio, Justin||2000|
|Van Ells, Mark||1984|
Several Ex-Panther Players Earn Post Season College Accolades
It wasn't too long ago that Panther players use to walk the halls and play on the field at Greendale High School. Some of these players made the decision to continue their football careers and play at the college level. It is with great pride that several of these players have gone on and earned some recognition.
Andrew Thompson is one of these players. He played for Greendale and graduated back in 2009. He was an outstanding player on defense and earn many awards for his efforts. He went on to play for the Titians at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Andrew is a senior there so his days of college ball are over, but not before earning 2012 All WIAC-Conference 1st Team at defensive end. Congratulations Andrew!
For the article from UW Oshkosh, click here.
For the entire All-WIAC list, click here.
Ben Ericksen is another former Greendale Panther. He finished his high school days as the #1 receiver in the state of Wisconsin in 2008. This was not his only accomplishment for he accumulated many other honors including All-Suburban Player of the Year just to name one. He too graduated from Greendale back in 2009 and went on to play football for the Redbirds of Illinois State. There he would end up playing safety and was a kick return specialist with this other former Greendale graduate in Eric Brunner. Ben was selected to the 2012 All-Missouri Valley Conference 1st Team at the safety position. Even though Ben's college football days are over, rumor has it that there are a few NFL teams that are looking at him. He might not be done playing football just yet! Congratulations Ben!
For the article from Illinois State, click here.
For Ben's bio, click here.
The UW-Whitewater Warhawks Are Back At It Again!
For the 7th year in a row, The UW Whitewater Warhawks will head back to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl which is where the NCAA Division III Championship game is held. And for the 7th year in a row, they will be playing the Mount Union Raiders. The game is scheduled to be played at 6:00pm on Friday December 16th in Salem, Va.
So why is this article being posted? It's very simple. The starting center for the Warhawks just so happens to be from Greendale which probably means that he played for the Panthers. Well if you are assuming that, you're right. Joe Hansen played four years and graduated from Greendale back in 2009. He will now be the starting center for the Warhawks who will be playing for their 3rd consecutive National Championship.
Go get it Joe! We'll all be watching you from home.
Ex-Panther Eric Brunner Named To Missouri Valley All-Conference 1st Team And Missouri Valley All-Academic Team!
Back in 2006, Greendale was blessed with a student athlete that was the epitome of a football player. He not only excelled on the field but in the classroom as well. His name was Eric Brunner. Since then he has been attending college and throwing bodies around on the football field for the Red Birds of Illinois State University. Just like in high school, he ended up leaving a major mark in the college ranks as well. For the second consecutive year in a row, he was named to the All-Missouri Valley Conference - First Team along with two other players from his squad.
Eric's college playing days have now come to an end for he will be graduating this December. He is planning on returning home where he has an accounting job already lined up. He also said that he will work on staying in shape for NFL combine invitations. Stay tuned! He might not be done playing football just yet!
For more information, click here.
2010: All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First-Team selection ... MVFC All-Academic First Team honoree ... CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District V Team selection ... Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) Academic All-Star Team member ... started all 11 games at defensive tackle and ranked fifth on the team with a career-high 53 tackles, including 23 solo stops ... led the team with four sacks and 9.5 tackles-for-loss, both career-highs ... also credited with two quarterback hurries and fumble recovery ... posted seven tackles in five different games ... tallied a career-high four solo tackles at Northwestern ... posted seven tackles, 2.5 TFLs and a sack in a win against Missouri State ... set a career-high with two sacks and 2.5 TFLs in a victory over No. 14 North Dakota State preseason All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection ... W.F. Ruebush Endowed Scholarship recipient for the 2010-11 school year at ISU.
2009: All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Second-Team selection ... second-team MVFC All-Academic Team pick ... voted the team's defensive MVP ... started in all 11 games at defensive tackle ... ranked fifth on the team with 47 tackles, including 23 solo stops ... also added 1.5 sacks, 7.0 TFLs and seven quarterback hurries ... credited with two pass breakups ... recorded a career-high nine tackles against Western Illinois ... also had a career-high 1.5 TFLs against the Leathernecks ... finished the season with seven tackles and five hurries in an upset win over No. 9 Northern Iowa.
2008: Played in all 11 games with eight starts, including earning his first-career start at defensive tackle in the season-opener against Marshall ... recorded 21 tackles with a career-high five tackles at Murray State and versus Eastern Illinois ... recorded two sacks on the season, including one in the final game of the year versus Southern Illinois.
2007: Redshirted ... was not available for practice after having "Tommy John" surgery on his right elbow prior to the season.
High School Accolades:
Only player in the state of Wisconsin to earn first team all-state honors on both sides of the ball in 2005 and 2006 from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ... a MaxPreps first team All-American as an offensive lineman ... named the Wisconsin Player of the Year by the Associated Press ... 2006 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Defensive Player of the Year ... Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Lineman of the Year ... Woodland Conference Player of the Year ... NOW All-Suburban Player of the Year ... two-time all-region, all-area, all-suburban and all-conference selection ... helped lead Greendale to a 22-4 record over his last two seasons ... played in the East Meets West All-America game in Celebration, Fla. ... coached by Rob Stoltz ... also lettered in baseball ... a four-year member of the honor roll.
Ex-Panthers Earn All-WIAC Accolades
Not all Greendale football players hang up the cleats after their high school playing days. Some continue to play in college as well. Greendale just so happens to have a few players out there somewhere in the college ranks.
Two of them just so happen to be playing on the same team. Vince Sciano (08) and Andrew Thompson (09) play for the Titians of the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh.
This year, Sciano was named to the ALL-WIAC (Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) 1st Team at defensive end as well as 2nd Team All-Region while Thompson was named All-WIAC 2nd Team also at defensive end.
Congratulation guys! ... You still got it!
Former Greendale Panther Eric Brunner Was Named to FCS ADA Academic All-Star Team
Redbird junior defensive tackle Eric Brunner was one of 52 FCS players selected for the prestigious team. This by far is a major accomplishment and shows that he is not just your average football player. He just finished his Junior year and attends Illinois State located in Normal Illinois. He has started the last 2 years on the defensive line and is a major force on their defense. He was also selected to the All-MVFC First-Team and the 2010 CoSIDA/ESPN Academic All-District V Team, which is selected by the Academic All-America Committee. To read more about this story, click here.
Eric Brunner playing for Greendale
Eric played for Greendale all 4 years and graduated back in 2007. It was during this time that he earned many accolades including All-Conference and All-State honors and was named the Defensive Player of the Year for Wisconsin. He is majoring in accounting.
Click here to see Eric's program roster biography.
Congratulations Eric on a job well done!
The 2010 NCAA Division III National Champion
An ex-Greendale Panther just so happened to be a member of the offensive line for the 2010 NCAA Division III Champion Whitewater Warhawks. His name is Joe Hansen (circled) and he played four years and graduated from Greendale back in 2009. The Warhawks defeated Mount Union 31-21.
Congratulations Joe! You done Greendale proud!
A National Championship Ring
For those who may not know this, we have a state college located in Whitewater that always seems to be ranked at the top of the NCAA Division III rankings. In fact, they even have been known to win a National Championship here and there like the one they won last year.
This college along with all of the other state colleges in the UW extension system are not allowed to give out scholarships. They are allowed to recruit players from all over the nation. About the only thing they can offer however, is maybe a place in the front of the line at the cafeteria. It's suffice to say that most of the guys that play football at this level are really doing it for the love of the game.
Greendale has ex-high school players sprinkled all over the nation including some at UW-Whitewater. Two ex-Panthers were members of this team. Both were outstanding players for Greendale and graduated back in 2008. They were Joe Hansen and Mike Picciolo (pictured here). They both were members of the Warhawks when they won the Alonzo Stage Bowl in 2009.
This is the ring that all members of the UW-Whitewater Warhawks were given for winning the 2009 NCAA Div-III Championship.
Photo by Dan Herrmann
Class of 88 Reunion
The GHS class of 1988 recently held their 20th class reunion this past August. These guys also represent members of the Greendale Panthers football team that won the Suburban Park Conference back in 1987.
(Back Row): Ethan Bach, Mike Miller, Brian Sherman, Mike Laufenberg, Kurt Kreutzer, Jeff Hassmer, Ken Moritz, Jim Agnew, Steve Huppert (Front Row): Craig Cook, Terry Josefiak, Jim Kozak, Jeff Schaetzke, Brian Sanford (Lounging): Lou Nick
Picture submitted by Jeff Schaetzke
An Essay On Learning
In case anyone ever wanted an idea on what playing Panther football meant, you will want to read this story. It was submitted by a member of the 1987 football team by the name of Jeff Hassemer ('88), who now resides in Aurora, Colorado. We are sure that he speaks on behalf of all of the players that have played football for the Panthers of Greendale High.
Everything I ever needed to learn, I learned from football.
Some say, football is just a game. It may be just a game to some, but it really is so much more. Personally, I hold with me so many memories and lessons from my days on the practice fields of Brinkman Field and from the stadiums that we played in together. Lessons that I still hold with me to this day; memories that are as vivid to me today as when they were when I lived them (don't worry all, this isn't a glory days diatribe you are about to read)... This essay is more about what I've learned from playing football as a Greendale Panther, and the lesson's that my teammates and coaches taught me that helped shape the person that I am today.
For those of you who played the game years ago… I hope that this brings back fond memories and that you find the lessons familiar.
For those of you who play for the Panther's today... my hope is that this helps you understand that you will get out of Panther football what you put into it. Experience this game, learn from it… above all, play hard and have fun.
I personally learned a lot from my coaches and teammates...
In 7th grade, Nellie (our fireplug, some say sawed of warthog runt, of a coach) taught us about quiet confidence. How sometimes, silence and the knowledge that you will execute better than your competition on the field speaks louder than screaming and yelling before a game. This is a lesson that the guys I played with always kept with us. We knew that the louder the other team was, the more scared they were of what we were bringing to the field. Today, I compete in the rough and tumble business world of software development. My competition sometimes gets very loud and often attempts to sway a customer by talking about what my company can or can't do. When that happens, I think about "quiet confidence", and rise above the fray... I know that if I, or my team, sticks to our game plan and executes, we will always win the day.
In 8th grade, Rodney Mattrisch told us at the beginning of the year... "Every play in the playbook is designed to score a touchdown. Your execution of that play determines whether or not that is true." That statement has stuck with me through the years. It is a message about execution. People make plans, both good and bad, in their life. Success is rarely determined by a plan... It's always determined by how well someone executes the plan. As with any team, everyone doing their job to perfection is what determines success. Whether it is the lineman making the block or the back selling a fake, execution of your job in that play (or plan) will determine the success of the team. – I've never lost this lesson.
In 9th grade, I learned the lesson of flexibility. I changed positions from fullback to tailback. I needed to learn a new role and understand the game from a different angle. There are two life lessons here. The first, learn what your teammates are doing. Understanding what they do, helps you understand and perform your role better. And… you may end up doing their job someday. The second lesson was about the ability to adapt to situations and persevere. Life is about change. How you handle that change, adapt to the situation and turn that into success will determine how far you can go in life. Don't whine about change, accept it, learn from it, adapt to your new surroundings and execute. – Denny (Dennis Gorski) and Tex (Tex Frank), that life lesson took me farther than you will ever imagine.
My sophomore year, I learned a ton. One of my most vivid memories came during two-a-days. Running gassers Coach Menzel said we could go "CoCo Beach" if the entire team made it under a certain time. I remember Craig Pittman and I dragging Louie Nick the 4 laps, throwing him across the sideline and just making it for the reward. The lesson: helping your teammates is ALWAYS rewarding. The life lesson: helping others often is more rewarding for you than it is for them. Take the time to volunteer and help your community. Every coach in the Panther organization knows this is true. Thank you for your contributions.
Junior year, I played with one of the most talented teams around. We lost a game early in the season… and we learned that you don't win on talent alone. Talent is one thing, but it is heart, and the desire to win that will determine the final outcome. Heart always trumps talent. You see this lesson all of the time in sports and in life. You cannot buy a championship; you cannot take a shortcut to becoming the best at whatever it is that you do. Success takes work, desire, concentration and a drive to win.
Coach Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning is Everything." In a lesser-known quote from the Coach, he later recanted that statement and went on to say. "Winning isn't everything. Making the effort to win is everything... The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand."
My senior year, really throughout my football career, I learned a fundamental truth about life. It does not matter what other people say about you or your efforts. In fact, the more success that you have, the harder your detractors will dig in. What matters is how well you execute. Execution is a direct function of concentration of each individual of a team, performing their tasks to the best of their ability.
The class of 1988 was not the most talented football team, nor the biggest, nor the fastest, nor was the team the best of anything by a lot of football standards. The critics of the team wondered if we would even win a game in the conference that year. What we did have was an ability to execute and the will to win.
Coach Gavinski told us a story after we beat West Allis Central that year. The Central coaches told him after the game that he didn't understand how Greendale was able to run the Wing T offense so much better than they did. Coach didn't respond much, but he told us what the difference was… Execution! Truly, what made the 1987 (class of 1988) team Conference Champions was our ability to execute.
Coaches Gavo, Zellie and Loeding all hammered on the fundamentals of execution. Concepts such as staying lower than your opponent, footwork, the loop block, carrying out a fake, running precise routes and so much more were hammered into our heads so much that it became second nature for our bodies to do the work. They taught us the value of each team member doing exactly what they need to do to make the team successful. They taught us that 11 men, working together there was nothing that we could not achieve. In the process, we learned our final life lesson from Greendale Panther football... People who work together will win. Individual commitment to a group effort-that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.
Coach Gavinski's induction to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Hall of Fame has pushed me to reconnect with my teammates. What I have found is that we have all been able to apply our lessons on the football field to achieve great success in our lives. The members of the 1987 Conference Champion Greendale Panther football team have gone on to be Lawyers (with there own practices), Presidents and Vice Presidents of major corporations, and the youngest High School Principal in Colorado State history. Many have found tremendous success in their lives and to this day, I find happiness in the success of my teammates.
I think that I speak for all of us when I say that much of our success in life comes directly from what we've learned from our coaches at Greendale. Thank you Coach Gavinski, and thank you to all of our coaches for providing us with a foundation for our personalities to achieve so much in our lives. I hope you all know that you've touched our lives deeper than we can ever really express.
For Coach Gavo, I hope that you are looking down on us from somewhere and are proud of what we have been able to achieve. I hope that you know your efforts were a huge part of our success. I can never repay you for that; I can only honor your memory by constantly working hard to achieve my goals.
You can't stop the Green Machine!!!
Jeff Hassemer (Class of '88)
Director, Product Marketing
Click here for a downloadable copy of this story.
Q & A With Ex-Panther and Whitewater's Neil Mrkvicka
Story submitted by Ben Mattrisch 12/12/07
Greendale's Neil Mrkvicka setting new
marks at the University of Wisconsin
This website was primarily designed to be a tool for The Greendale Panther Touchdown Club. It also covers all of Greendale's football programs. The real intent, however, is to keep stay in touch with Panther fans, and more importantly, alumni. One of our past alumni, Ben Mattrisch (' 05), has taken took it upon himself to put a Q & A story together about another Panther alum. Here is his submitted story.
On the verge of yet another attempt, Greendale's own Neil Mrkvicka (' 03) and his University of Whitewater Warhawks football team, are getting ready for their third consecutive appearance in this year's 35th Annual Alonzo Stage Bowl, which is held In Salem, Virginia. This is the first of many bowls yet to come, and represents the NCAA's Division 3 National Championship Game. The game is this Saturday, December 15th, and will kickoff at 3:00pm CDT. The game will be televised on ESPN.
As remarkable as this seems, this will be Whitewater's third time against the exact same team in Mount Union. It doesn't happen to often where you see the same two teams play for a national championship, three years in a row. Mount Union won the first two meetings by a score of 35-28 in 2005, and 35-16 in 2006.
Q: Neil, When did you first start playing football?
A: I've probably been playing football since I could walk with my dad and brothers. But I started in organized football for Greendale on the C team when I was beginning the fourth grade.
Q: What was the fondest memory you remember about playing at Greendale?
A: William's touchdown, otherwise just winning the conference title with the rest of our senior class that year who were all pretty close and actually still remain a pretty close group of friends to this day. The sport of football has a special way of creating camaraderie and friendships and bonds that stand to last a pretty long time.
Q: Is there one game that really stands out when you were playing for Greendale?
A: Beating Eisenhower in a very exciting and close game to win the conference championship my senior year was probably my best game personally and the biggest and best game our team played that year.
Q: After HS, were you set on continuing to play, or did you more or less just go in with an open mind, thinking that you were just going to try it first to see if you liked it?
A: I was always pretty set on playing sports in college. I loved baseball too, but I was just never as good at it.
Q: What colleges were whispering in your ear after HS?
A: Most of the WIAC schools and some of the D2 schools from Minnesota.
Q: Why did you go with Whitewater?
A: They recruited me the hardest. The coaches sounded like they believed I could play ball here and be pretty good, while a lot of the other school's coaches sounded like I was just another kid on their call list, and that's pretty much what it came down to.
Q: What is different between high school football and college football?
A: The talent level is obviously a step up, but I would have to say the amount of time that you have to put in to know about your opponent each week is one of the biggest differences. There is a lot more film study and you really have to understand coverages and what the defense is doing on every play in order to have success in college, whereas in high school most defenses stick with the same base set throughout the entire game or even the entire season.
Q: What was your favorite memory from college football?
A: Probably the playoff game against La Crosse last year in which I was able to catch the go ahead touchdown to beat our rival at home.
Q: What has it been like to enjoy the type of success that Whitewater has had in the past 3 years?
A: Incredible! I really feel blessed to have been able to be part of this team for these past three seasons in which we've totaled a record of 41 wins and 3 losses.
Q: What was it like to play in front of a national audience during the Stag Bowl?
A: It's pretty exciting to think about in the lead up to the game, but once it gets started I try to tune those thoughts out and focus on playing the game like it were any other.
Q: What is it like playing for a new coach this year?
A: It's different, coach Leipold has implemented some new things that took some time adjusting to, but once we all did we became a better team because of it.
Q; What kind of impact has college football had on your life?
A: Tremendous! At first, it took me some time getting settled into the college lifestyle and making new friends, but now that I'm a senior on my way out I realize that most of my best friends are playing alongside me on our team right now.
Q: What kind of time do you put in during the off-season to get ready?
A: Four days a week for 2 hours working out with the team, and then my roommate, who is the backup QB here, throw quite a bit on our own.
Q: Before you came to college did you think you would be able to make such a big impact for Whitewater?
A: No way. Even after my first two seasons here, I would've never dreamed that our team would have this much success and that I would be able to contribute to the success as much as I have.
Q: What is it like to hold Whitewater records and a WIAC record? (I believe you got this if I am correct.)
A: The few records that I do hold are in the return game, and they're an honor to have, but at the same time they are really dependent upon the guys in front of me blocking and the defense forcing so many punts.
Q: Was there ever a time where you thought about hanging it up in college? If so why?
A: I graduated in the spring after my sophomore season and wasn't sure how much more football I'd be playing, but I decided to come back the past two seasons and work toward a graduate degree.
Q: Do you still keep track of Greendale even though you really have no vested interest there now that your brother Troy has graduated?
A: Certainly, although it is tough to make it back to the football games on Friday nights because of our Saturday day games, I still check the box scores or call home to see who won. And I actually made it to the triple overtime win in the mud against Eisenhower this year. I got to watch from the sideline and was going nuts with some of my buddies throughout the game.
Q: When Troy was playing, did you guys ever get into one of those, 'who is better discussions' ?
A: Not really, he could usually shut down those talks pretty quickly by just asking how far I made it into the playoffs.
Q: Last question. Do you see yourself ever being a coach?
A: Not sure. I've helped coach at some camps throughout the summers and enjoyed it, but I'll have to wait and see what I'll be doing once college is done.
Thank you Ben for submitting this. Make sure you also thank Neil for us too, for it sure has been exciting watching him throughout his college career. - ram