Harris would like to see the city’s youth football programs structured through the Madison Metropolitan School District.
“I think there are so many wonderful benefits of participating in athletics, not just football as a whole,” he said. “And if we were to lock in on those individuals at the middle-school level, I think we could really help turn around some kids that are at disadvantages in every-day life.”
Sense of community
These days Schoessow, who coached Memorial from 1975-1997, makes his home in Houston. He has taught a “Football Theory” course at the University of Texas-San Antonio to aspiring coaches for the past eight years.
Among his coaching disciples are past players Harris and Verona’s Dave Richardson, who will be inducted into the WFCA Hall of Fame with Waunakee’s Pat Rice next March.
Schoessow considers declining participation and sports specialization to be two of the key factors in Madison football’s fall from prominence. He also feels that part of the equation is the sense of community that is prevalent in the suburban programs and simply can’t be matched by the city schools.
“When you have one school and the whole community rallies around (that team), the kids want to play. They see the tradition,” Schoessow said. “To me, the tradition is the biggest thing. And that can be positive or negative. Right now, Madison’s tradition is negative. They lose, and it’s difficult to change that mindset into one of pride. And that’s what these smaller communities have”
Madison’s community & recreation budget will be at least $14,139,795 during the 2013-2014 school year.The lack of serious pre-high school sports programs is an issue is a vis suburban schools. The District should, in my view, focus on its long term, disastrous reading results. Success in that critical curriculum will lead to other opportunities.