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Ringelbergs a winning team for Greendale football

Quarterback Josh named NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Player of the Year

Greendale quarterback Josh Ringelberg attempts to break a tackle by Brown Deer’s Kevin Nunn during a WIAA Division 3 playoff game this season. Ringelberg is the 2013 NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Player of the Year.

Greendale quarterback Josh Ringelberg attempts to break a tackle by Brown Deer’s Kevin Nunn during a WIAA Division 3 playoff game this season. Ringelberg is the 2013 NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Player of the Year. Photo By Peter Zuzga

Dec. 3, 2013

Many families have a long-term tradition, and for the Ringelbergs, it is winning football games for Greendale High School.

Keith Ringelberg played for the Panthers in the early 1980's and was on the 1981 squad which reached the WIAA Division 1 state semifinals.

After graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Ringelberg became an assistant varsity coach at Greendale.

He just completed his 27th season on the Panthers' staff, and it was one of the most successful in school history as Greendale finished 13-1 and the Division 3 state runner-up.

Coached three sons

In 2011, Ringelberg had the privilege of coaching three of his sons, Kennedy, Jack and Josh. Kennedy, a senior that season, earned first-team all-state honors at tight end, while Josh was the backup quarterback to Sam Brick.

After Kennedy graduated, twins Jack and Josh kept the winning tradition going in 2012. Josh became the first sophomore to start at quarterback under head coach Rob Stoltz and led the Panthers to a WIAA playoff berth.

This season, Jack was solid at defensive back and Josh enjoyed a fabulous season at quarterback, driving Greendale to the state championship contest.

Josh completed 196 of 291 passes for 3,172 yards and 41 touchdowns with just eight interceptions. He also ran for 583 yards and 11 scores.

In the state title contest, he passed for a state championship game record of 270 yards, including a state record 97-yard toss to Nate Miller.

For all these accomplishments, and for his steady and inspiring field leadership, Josh Ringelberg is the 2013 NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Player of the Year.

Josh understands scheme

"He spends a lot of time in preparation," Keith said of Josh. "He understands the offense well, and he has a great football IQ. Having an offensive-minded coach like Rob helps, too. He likes the spread offense."

Stoltz certainly appreciates what Josh meant to his offense, saying, "Josh is as well-versed in our offense as any quarterback I've coached and is a prime example of what a dual-threat player can do at the position."

Josh, himself, was quick to spread the credit to his teammates.

"We had great balance this season on offense," Josh said. "We had a great offensive line and a great running back in Jake Zywicki. The defenses had to respect our run game, and that opened up passing lanes."

Having receivers as talented as Mitchell Brees, Nate Miller, Cody Kmetz and Doug St. Onge helped, too.

"Josh had plenty of support," Keith said. "He had the talented offensive line and a wide receiver corps that we have never had at Greendale."

Both Keith and Josh reflected on their time and experiences at Greendale, especially the time they were able to spend together in practices and games.

"This was a great experience for me," Keith said of coaching his sons. "This was time spent with my sons that most parents don't get to have. I spent three hours a day with them. We experienced the good times and the laughs as well as the hard times and the tears."

One of the latter came after the agonizing loss to Monona Grove in the state championship game.

"That was about as heartbreaking a loss as I have ever been associated with," Keith said. "The 2006 loss (7-3 in the state title game to Waupaca) was tough, but this took it to a whole new level."

Josh also enjoyed spending the additional time with his father.

"It is a special feeling to have the opportunity to share the football memories with my father and my family," Josh said.

Keith starred for Panthers

Keith, the first Ringelberg to star for Greendale, played running back and linebacker in the early 1980's. He was named to the all-Parkland Conference first team twice on defense and once, as a senior, on offense.

In his senior year, the Panthers reached the Division 1 semifinals but came away with a disappointing loss to Madison West.

Keith then played at UW-Platteville as a running back exclusively.

"Offense was my strength," he said, "and I had the opportunity to play for the late, great George Chryst."

Later, he took the assistant coaching job at Greendale. He has served as running backs and special teams coach, but he also worked closely with all three of his sons.

"It is a tremendous feeling to come full-circle," Keith said of playing and coaching his sons at Greendale. "I have coached them for five seasons, and there is one more to come."

Jack and Josh will play together again in 2014. Josh will have to adjust to life without Zywicki in the backfield and Brees and Miller as his main targets, but the Panthers will still have reason for optimism.

After all, the winning Ringelberg tradition will still be present, both on the sidelines and on the field.

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