PLATTEVILLE — For the third time in five seasons, the Platteville High School football team will have a new head coach calling the shots.
Jason Weittenhiller was offered the position in late May and officially approved by the Platteville School Board in early June.
Weittenhiller, a fourth grade teacher in the school district, served as Platteville’s defensive coordinator last fall when the Hillmen went 6–3, and was a linebackers and running backs coach in 2017 when Platteville went 9–2 and won a share of the Southwest Wisconsin Conference title.
Previously, Weittenhiller was a head coach at neighboring Belmont, where he played and graduated in 2000, leading the Braves to a 32–46 record and five playoff appearances in his eight seasons from 2008–15.
Weittenhiller replaces Ryley Bailey, who went 15–5 the past two seasons as head coach and was named the 2017 SWC Coach of the Year.
Bailey replaced Kyle Craig prior to the 2017 season. Craig led Platteville to a 12–9 record in his two seasons (2015–2016) at the helm, including a share of the conference title in 2016.
Craig replaced Scott Statz, who stepped down as a head coach following the 2014 season, but remained on staff as an assistant through the 2017 season.
Statz, who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame next April, led the Hillmen to a 95–52 record (.646), three conference titles (2004, 2006, 2007) and 11 playoff berth in his 14 seasons as head coach from 2000–14. He also led Platteville to the 2013 WIAA Division 4 state championship game.
As a head coach, Weittenhiller will also replace Bailey at the team’s offensive coordinator.
“I am excited to become a head coach again,” said Weittenhiller. “I learned a lot in the past few years coaching with coach Statz and Coach Bailey. I learned a lot about the passing game from Coach Bailey’s schemes and we want to be able to incorporate the power running game Coach Statz was known for. We want to be a combination of what they both did best. We are going to be a power spread team. We want to be a power running team with a tight end, but still be able to throw the ball using three wide receivers.”
“We are not going to double tight, narrow splits, three backs like we were at Belmont when I was there. I’m not sure people could handle going from airing it out like Platteville has the past two years to that. We are still going to be a shot gun team that likes to pass the ball.”
Austin Young, a former all-conference defensive lineman at UW–Platteville will replace Weittenhiller as the defensive coordinator. Young is in his second year on staff.
Don Blevins (fifth year, OL/DL). Max Kunde (third year, JV, WR/DB), Kyle Miller (third year, RB/DB) return as assistant coaches.
Ken Carter (OL/DL) and PHS boys’ basketball coach Mike Huser (QB/DB) will join the staff this year as volunteer assistant coaches.
Former offense and defensive line coach Matt Withrow has left the staff after being hired for a full-time teaching job in Waunakee, where he will also coach football.
Weittenhiller held his varsity team camp in early July. Last Tuesday he officially began his first year as Platteville’s head coach when fall practice began across the state.
“So far, it’s looking pretty good,” said Weittenhiller. “We have some talented athletes, but we are going to be very young. We have to see which young guys are ready to step up for week 1 especially against a good, well coached team like Cuba City.”
Platteville returns five starters on offense in seniors Tyler McClain (QB), John Goomey (moves from WR to RB this fall), Will Schaefer (OL), Garrett Baxter (OL) and junior Adam Bird (OL). Schaefer (DT), Goomey (ILB) and senior Max Allion (CB) are Platteville’s lone returning starters on defense.
Platteville will travel to Monroe Friday night for a preseason scrimmage at 5 p.m.
The Hillmen will open the regular season with a non-conference game against visiting Cuba City, Friday, Aug. 23 at UW–Platteville’s Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.