The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Athletic Department announced today that John Miech, winningest coach in Pointer football history, has decided to step down as head coach to pursue other football opportunities.
Defensive coordinator Tom Journell will take over head coaching duties, effective immediately. Student-athletes along with the coaching staff were informed of Miech's decision at a team meeting held earlier today.
"Coach Miech has been an asset, not only to the Pointer football team, but to the entire University," said Director of Athletics Daron Montgomery. "His impact on this program is one that should not be measured by all the winning seasons on the field, but more for the difference John made in the lives of young people. Everyone who knows Coach Miech knows that making a difference is what John tried to do in every aspect of his job."
Miech, who spent 24 seasons at the helm of the UW-Stevens Point football program and 30 years overall on the sidelines at Point, will remain on staff as a lecturer in the School of Physical Education and Athletic Training through the end of the academic year.
"To all players past and present, thank you for coming to UWSP," said Miech. "It has been an honor to coach you. To all the assistant coaches whom I have had the privilege to work with, your dedication and work ethic has made UWSP one of the top teams in the best conference in the country."
Miech's association with Pointer football began in 1972 when he first joined the program as an offensive lineman, providing protection for the nation's top passing offense in both 1973 and 1974. He received his B.S. degree in Business and Economics in 1975 and shortly thereafter moved on to coach at Stephen F. Austin State University (Texas) as a graduate assistant, where he would go on to earn a master's degree in Health and Physical Education.
Miech returned to Wisconsin in 1979 and served as the head coach at Whitnall High School and then Jefferson High School for three seasons each before returning to UW-Stevens Point in 1985 as defensive coordinator. In three seasons, his defenses allowed an average of just over 275 yards per game and four yards per play, statistics that led the conference.
He assumed the role of head coach of the Pointers in 1988 and over 24 seasons amassed a 156-83-2 record, ranking fourth on the all-time Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference wins list. His 156 career wins is the most all-time in school history.
Miech posted 21 seasons with a .500 or better record during his 24 years. He won four WIAC championships and earned Coach of the Year accolades three times (1998, 2001, 2008).
Along the way, he developed more than 60 players who went on to play professionally, including a dozen who saw action in the NFL, CFL, AFL and European leagues. Most notable among them was Clint Kriewaldt, who was drafted in the sixth round by the Detroit Lions in 1999 and played in the 2006 Super Bowl as a member of the World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
Others include Barry Rose, who had stints with both the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos; Kirk Baumgartner, a draft choice of the Green Bay Packers; and Pete Lucas, a draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons. Most recently, Jared Jenkins, a member of the 2010 UW-Stevens Point squad, was a free agent member of the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams organizations.
"I would like to thank Don Amiot and Frank O'Brien, former athletic directors, for being great mentors, win or lose," said Miech. "I also want to thank my wife Sheila, who has always been there to help me keep life and football in perspective. Lastly, a huge thank you to my two sons, Ryan and Jessie, who have sacrificed the most for our success at UWSP by sharing their father with the thousands of student-athletes who called their father ‘Coach'."
THE MIECH FILE
*22 NCAA All-Americans
*10 players that have gone on to play in the NFL
*124 First Team All-WIAC honorees
*Six WIAC Players of the Year
*Three NCAA Playoff appearances (1999, 2001, 2008)
*2005 Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame Inductee
Year Overall WIAC
2011 4-6 2-5
2010 7-3 5-2
2009 7-3 6-1
2008 9-2 6-1
2007 6-4 3-4
2006 6-4 4-3
2005 4-6 3-4
2004 6-4 4-3
2003 8-2 5-2
2002 6-4 4-3
2001 8-3 5-2
2000 2-8 1-6
1999 9-2 6-1
1998 7-2 5-2
1997 6-4 3-4
1996 6-3 4-3
1995 8-2 5-2
1994 7-3 5-2
1993 8-2 6-1
1992 5-4 4-3
1991 6-3-1 6-2
1990 6-4 4-4
1989 8-2-1 6-1-1
1988 7-4 5-3
24 yrs 156-83-2 107-64-1 (WIAC)
Courtesy: UWSP Sports Information