Ted Kietlinski takes over as Bowler/Gresham football coach

He’s served as assistant past several years
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

The Bowler/Gresham football co-op will have a new coach leading the way when the team takes the field this fall.

Ted Kietlinski was tabbed the team’s new coach, replacing Ralph Smith.

Kietlinski has been assistant in the football program for six years, with an additional two years of experience as an assistant at other schools. Kietlinski also coaches the Bowler boys basketball varsity team and will continue to do so.

“Ted was hired because of his involvement with the football program for the last six years at the middle school and high school levels, as well as his 20-plus years of coaching in our district,” said Bowler athletic director Jeff DePerry. “Ted knows our kids and will continue to bring passion, insight and leadership to our district.”

As Kietlinski takes the reins of the co-op, he has some challenges he needs to overcome — perhaps the biggest being getting enough athletes to join the team.

“For a number of years, the varsity program has struggled with low participation,” said Kietlinski. “One of my goals is to continue to encourage kids to give football a try. I want to infuse a sense of pride in the players to keep our team playing every week and every year going forward. We have always had good players, but we need more of them.”

While the wins have been hard to come by in recent years, Kietlinski complimented Smith for making the best of things. He also noted that there’d be some changes with him leading the way.

“Coach Smith did a great job keeping the program afloat,” said Kietlinski. “As I take over this year, naturally there will be subtle changes. For example, we will incorporate weight training into our weekly practice plan.”

“I want our team to highly value dedication, teamwork, sportsmanship and integrity. If these are the pillars of our program, good things are sure to follow.”

Granted the team has enough players to field a team this fall, the co-op is set to open its season Aug. 26 at Niagara. The first Bowler/Gresham home game is scheduled for Sept. 2 against Three Lakes/Phelps.

Bowler/Gresham also will scrimmage on Aug. 19 in Gillett.