Impact of Roger Harring
One can say that a coach will impact more than just the game, they will impact a life. That is exactly what Hall of Fame coach, Roger Harring did in his time as a coach, teacher and mentor to many he has come into contact in his years in the classromm and field of competition.
Coach Harring (October 4, 1932 – August 12, 2021) was an American football player and coach. He won 340 games over 42 seasons at both the high school and college levels.
Harring graduated from Wisconsin State College–La Crosse (later renamed University of Wisconsin–La Crosse). He graduated in 1958 with a bachelor of science degree in physical education.After graduating from La Crosse, Harring coached high school football at Ladysmith High School in Ladysmith, Wisconsin (1958–1962) and at Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin (1963–1968). He won 79 games as a high school coach. In 1969, Harring accepted the head coaching job at his alma mater. At Wisconsin–La Crosse, he had a 261–75–7 record. He won 15 conference titles and three national championships (1985, 1992, 1995) before his retirement in 1999. Harring was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
While at Ladysmith in the late 50’s and early 60’s, Coach Harring went on to claim conference titles as football coach for the Lumberjacks with teams many tought were small and unable to compete against the schools they faced, but Harring was able to get the most out his players and always put them in postions to be successful. “Coach Harring was a meticulous, on point, hard nose coach to play for. But off the field he was the kindest man and pleasant to talk to. I had the greatest respect for him as a coach and person,” stated former Lumberjack and player for Harring, Ed Krenzlok.
As learning more about his time in Ladysmith from 1958 to 1962 others came out and commented about coach Harring on several platforms as Lloyd Brown stated “I have many fond memories of coach Harring. He was a great role model for me as a teen.” Ken Buchholtz commented, “I played football for him 3threeyears 60, 61, 62. We won championships 61 and 62. He was a great coach and friend.” “My husband Myron had great respect for Coach Harring and played for him on the 1961 championship team! He always followed the UW-L team when he was coaching there,” Christine Erickson stated. Ted Collins when on to say the following about his former coach, “I was a freshman guard on the football team in a 1968. It was Coach Harring’s first year. Over the next four years, he built a team from players who were neither fast, nor large and nor all that talented into the number one small school in the State. We skunked the next four teams in the conference, beating them by an average of 40 points. Along the way, we learned the lesson that if you want to be good at anything, you needed to give your all. It was a lesson I tried to apply to my life.”
Coaching in the end is always going to be scored by the wins and losses, but in reality it is about the impact one has their players for the years that follow after they are through playing. Coach Harring isn’t just a hall of fame coach in the eyes of his former players because of the wins, it is because of who he was and how he treated people. The same words were expressed over and over when many talk about coach Harring. Words like kind, honest, humble, respectful and caring. As former players over the years think back they most likely have memories they can relate to each other about their times playing for Roger Harring, but many were able to connect years after on a personal level, which is the greatest sign of respect a player can give a coach to let them know of the positive impact they had on their lives. It may have been just his start in the four years he was in Ladysmith, but his legacy is remembered by those who were blessed to play for him, learn from him and be impactied by him.
The best way to sum it up is in the words of former player Daryl Jordan, “I loved playing football for Roger. I thought the world of him. I played on the 61 team. I think he made me a better person. He knew how to get the best out of people. I went to see him a couple of years ago and I enjoyed seeing him. I will miss him. My heart goes out to his wife.”