GREEN BAY – Drew Brusoe took some good-natured ribbing from relatives after he recently was hired as the new Green Bay West football coach.
That’s what happens when one side of your family all graduated from rival Green Bay East.
“You know, they did give me kind of a hard time at first, I’ll be honest with you,” Brusoe said. “But they were excited for me, and they probably will change from the black and red to the purple to support us at West. Which I greatly appreciate. “
Brusoe, 28, replaces Skylar Liebzeit, who stepped down in January after two seasons with the program.
It’s a homecoming of sorts for Brusoe, who was a star football player at Luxemburg-Casco.
The 2012 graduate was the Bay Conference defensive player of the year and twice was a first-team all-conference selection as a defensive lineman, including during a senior season in which he had 93 total tackles and six sacks while leading the Spartans to a 9 -2 records.
He played for a short time at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where he graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology.
Brusoe has remained in football throughout, working in several roles after college.
He most recently served as the defensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach at Stevens Point Pacelli, which went 10-1 last season before losing to state runner-up Coleman in the WIAA Division 7 playoffs.
Brusoe also had stints as the director of player personnel and video operations at UW-Stevens Point and as the director of football operations and assistant strength and conditioning coach for Independence Community College in Kansas.
“We are very excited to add Drew to our coaching staff,” West athletic director Sue Kuester said. “He brings a great amount of football knowledge and experience to our team. It was evident through the interview process that Drew possesses the energy, passion and commitment to lead our football program. “
Brusoe is facing the same difficult task as previous West coaches during the past two decades.
He still was in diapers the last time the Wildcats made the playoffs in 1996. West has won just 15 games since 2000 and went 1-8 last season.
The job also is not one that has been occupied for very long, with the past eight coaches lasting an average of 2.9 seasons.
The only person to coach at least five seasons since Mike Williquette stepped down in 1996 was Jeff Behrendt from 2011 to 2015.
Although this is Brusoe’s first chance to run his own program, he is not viewing it as a steppingstone to bigger and better things.
“I don’t,” he said. “This is an opportunity to put some polish on an old gem that has been sitting in a desk for a long time, so to speak. There are some very talented kids in this program and it’s also a very young team.
“If you look at the last couple years, a lot of these kids were 14 or 15 going up against 17- and 18-year-olds. Getting to almost full-grown adulthood against basically children doesn’t work out too well. You can have all the talent in the world, but at the end of the day, usually the older kids are going to prevail. “
Brusoe will serve in a substitute teacher role between West and Franklin Middle School. He believes it’s going to be important to show his face di lui around school during the day and not just at practice, building relationships and trust with student-athletes.
It won’t be just X’s and O’s for him. He plans to use football to teach lessons about life. He saw the West job as a unique opportunity, to go in as a coaching staff and do all the things off the field to make sure results on the field have a chance to happen.
“We are going to get you the tools, we are going to get you the resources to make you be the most successful person you can once you leave our walls,” Brusoe said. “It’s not just about the four years that they are in our building. It’s about setting them up for the next 40-plus years in the real world. They can come back when they are old and gray and I’m in a walker.
“I define success that 100% of the program graduates. They are husbands and fathers and positive impacts on the community. That’s how I define success, compared to just W’s and L’s on the football field. “