ELK MOUND – After defeating the previously undefeated Glenwood City Hilltoppers back on Sept. 14, long time Elk Mound football coach Dan Pedersen was named the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week by the Wisconsin National Guard.
Pedersen is just the third coach in the history of Elk Mound football and has decided to hang up his whistle after 39 years leading the Mounders. He is currently 12th on the career list for high school football coaches in Wisconsin with 262 wins. (Joe La Buda of Menomonie is right behind him).
After playing running back and safety for Eau Claire Regis High School, Pedersen stayed close to home after graduating in 1969 and played defensive back and kicker for UW-Eau Claire. He then accepted his first teaching and coaching job at Elk Mound and taught physical education for over 30 years and stayed on as the football coach for several years after retiring from teaching. He was also the head track coach when he started at Elk Mound, and later went on to coach varsity basketball for many years.
“I graduated from college in the spring of 1974 and signed my contract with Elk Mound when I was 21 years old,” Pedersen said. “I turned 22 in August, just before I started the job and I’ll admit I really didn’t know how much work it would be. I had been an assistant coach at Eau Claire but I had no high school varsity experience behind me.”
This is the first time Pedersen has won the Packer Award, and he is quick to point out he did not do it all himself.
“I have had great coaches throughout my career and players who were willing to listen to us,” he said. “This year, my assistant coaches Dan Hay, Jayson Lesik, Dave Lew, Jake Puzio, Jeff Mack and Mark Traun all played a big part in me earning the award. It was a real exciting year for our team, winning the conference championship and getting to the second level of playoffs. It’s a great way for me to go out,” he added.