Bio: Novak, Gary (Jan - 1974)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Novak, Dachel
----Source: Tribune Record Gleaner (Loyal, Clark Co., WI) 1/31/1974
Novak, Gary (31 January 1974)
Mingling with Mary (By Mary Woods)
Many people in the world have “special” friends or relatives who they are indebted to and to Gary Novak, head coach at Granton, his former college landlady may be that “special” person.
Attending and graduating from Algoma High School, Novak was a three-year letterman in basketball and football and a two-year letterman in baseball. Upon graduation, he spent four years in the Air Force, Police Security. While in college at U.W.-La Crosse, Novak participated in intramural sports.
Boarding at an elderly lady’s home, Novak states “when it was time for me to graduate and get a job, I was just going to go into the teaching field at La Crosse, but my landlady told me that I wouldn’t be happy just teaching, and that coaching was where I wanted to be and where I belonged.” And according to Novak today, “she was right.”
Coaching one of the smallest schools in the Marawood Conference for the sixth year, Novak has brought the basketball team, the Bulldogs, up from the bottom of the list to a good contender for any school of its type. “Being a small school, our kids have a lot of dedication and determination to show the other school that they do care. The kids have less things to do in a small town and so sports is an interesting field and keeps them occupied and busy with their spare time,” states Novak.
In 1969-70 the Bulldogs finished 16-5, giving them the second place in the Marawood Conference and sent them as far as the regionals before being defeated by Thorp. In 1973, the Bulldogs entered the Central State Conference and finished 10-11. The total record for the team, under Novak is 53-47 and in WIAA standings are 7-5. The team has advanced to the finals of sub-regionals each year and to regionals four out of five years.
Furthering commenting on the coaching and the team at Granton, Novak states that he is very lucky to have the co-captain help of Mr. Dachel.
Besides coaching, Novak also coaches cross country, and physical education in the first through 12 grades. Teaching the high school classes has always been the role of the coach, but elementary teachers were always responsible for their students’ physical education. “We implemented this program this year, and so far, it has been a success and something that I enjoy a great deal.” According to Novak, the young kids are so full of pep and ready to do anything you ask them to which makes teaching the youth very enjoyable.
Outside of coaching, Novak is active in scorekeeping for the wrestling team, secretary for the Zion American Lutheran Church of Granton, and enjoys camping, and bowling with his family, Kim, Kris, Kathy, and his wife, Linda.
“I always had my goals set to be a coach and work with kids and see them win, but after high school, I just wasn’t settled enough to put my mind and heart to work, but now I am glad that I am where I am,” states Novak.
For Gary Novak of Granton, the coaching field is his work and his joy, and perhaps, it all goes back to that landlady who told him that “Coaching is where you want to be and where you belong.”
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