Coach Wayne Steffenhagen leaves behind a lasting legacy

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 10:38 PM CST
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SCHOFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) - When you ask people who former D.C. Everest Coach Wayne Steffenhagen was, they all say the exact same thing.

“He’s just going to get to work and beat you with work,” said. Luke Coenen, who played under and then coached with Steffenhagen for 26 years.”

“I think he was the hardest working individual I’d ever been around,” added Mike Salter, who also coached alongside Steffenhagen.

For a man that won five state championships and over 250 games, that came with lots of effort.

“The intensity level that was requested of you, the work that was requested of you, and the commitment that was requested of you was something that” as Coenen describes it, “at that time in the early 80s, was unheard of.”

“The man knew what success was. And he instilled that into us as players and into us as young men growing up,” said Ben Heindel, who played with Coach Steffenhagen late into his Evergreens tenure.

He was a man of color, backing his words with action.

“He taught us that work ethic, that toughness. Going when you don’t always want to go, “explained Tim Strehlow, the current coach for D.C. Everest football and a former player under Steffenhagen. “There’s going to be times in life when you don’t want to get back up but you got to get back up.”

He even elevated the game of those he competed against.

“We improved our strength program and we improved our track program. And all the things that coach Steffenhagen stood for at D.C. Everest, we tried to model here,” said former Marshfield football head coach Len Luedtke.

But as much as the man loved talking and winning, but he cared much more about his players.

“He meant so much to me. He meant so much to this team, this football team, community,” Strehlow said.

“He expected the same out of everybody. And I think the players that played for him respected that,” explained Salter.

It’s a legacy of true greatness.

“He was able to help mold kids in a positive way and teach them life lessons,” Strehlow said.

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