Leiser taking the Helm of the New Ulm Eagles football team. First practices of the season.


Leiser taking the Helm of the New Ulm Eagles football team. First practices of the season.

The leaders of New Ulm High School sports

Coaches questioned on how they got the position

To be a coach means to be a leader, listener, and communicator to the participants and fellow staff in the activity you are coaching along with other skills that come with the specific activity.

Having these skills as a high school coach should be a no-brainer, yet this comes to the question of whether New Ulm High School coaches had these skills when they took on their coaching positions. Some of the coaches were brought in because of their past coaching experiences but other coaches were hired because it was convenient at the time and the school could not find coaches for a few of the varsity sports.

When Kevin Briggs, the New Ulm High School baseball coach, was brought in it was because the high school could not find any coaches. Briggs said, “Yeah it was getting close to the season a while back and they came to me asking if I would be willing to coach the team, at first I was not sure but then I finally agreed.” With Briggs coaching the team has had significant success for most of his time until recently. Last year the Eagles went all the way to the section championship and fell short in that game, then this season almost all seniors except Ben Hohensee quit. When asked about why they had given up baseball their senior year Briggs said, “Well you know some just fall out of love for the sport, I actually am wondering the same thing but it is what it is.”

New Ulm Baseball team wins section championship with Kevin Briggs as head coach. (Dominick Kamrath)

When New Ulm High School was looking for a new head basketball coach after losing two coaches in their past two seasons, they brought in Matthew Dennis from Michigan. When asked about how he got brought in, Dennis said, “I was looking for a new school to teach and to mainly coach basketball at and New Ulm had both openings for me. I got into contact with the A.D. and it took off from there.” New Ulm Basketball did not have the greatest program until Dennis came along. His first season was rough but after every season it got better and better. Most recently Coach Dennis has led the way to back-to-back conference championships which has not happened in many years.

New Ulm Boys Basketball win back-to-back conference championships with Matthew Dennis as head coach. (Dominick Kamrath)

During the spring and summer of 2022, New Ulm High School was looking for a new head coach for football. They went to Derek Lieser who was not sure at first and it took quite a bit of time for him to make his final decision of taking the helm. The New Ulm Football program has also been a rough one for many years but there is hope that a coach such as Lieser who plans on catching up with the times by having much more pass play in the playbook compared to past coaches. When asked why it took him such a long time to accept his offer as coach, Derek said, “I had to find ways to fit it in my schedule because I am a teacher, strength and conditioning coach, and now a Dad to two young kids with a wife.” When asked if the past rough years for the program had anything to do with it, Lieser said, “Well I would be lying if I said it did not. It is a lot of pressure to deal with being seen as the hope for completely turning around a program that has not had a lot of success for years. So yes that also contributed to my long decision in whether or not I would take up the offer.” With Lieser taking over the New Ulm Football program this past season still was not a great one, which was still expected by many but this time around there is a sense of urgency and hope that the football program will be turned around soon by most of the football players and parents with Lieser at the helm.

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