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Vandals target UW-W football coach

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Kayla Bunge
December 23, 2009
— UW-Whitewater football coach Lance Leipold came home Sunday not only to find dozens of cheering fans lining the downtown streets but also to find deep gouges in the doors of his car in the stadium parking lot.

Leipold and the Warhawks returned to Whitewater on Sunday after winning the NCAA Division III title game against Mount Union, 38-28, on Saturday in Salem, Va.


UW-Whitewater Police Chief Matt Kiederlen said the vehicle, which was parked in the lot near Perkins Stadium, was vandalized sometime between Wednesday, when the football team left for the game, and Sunday, when the team returned to campus. He said there were several deep scratches—down to bare metal—on three doors.


Kiederlen said it’s likely someone took keys or a similar object to the vehicle late Saturday night because an officer checked the lot earlier that night and saw no suspicious activity or significant damage.


“He checked the lot, but I don’t know if it’s fair to say he checked every car to see if there was damage,” he said.


Kiederlen said this is not the first time the athletics staff have been targeted.


“It’s tended to revolve around a football game, usually of some significance,” he said.


Athletic Director Paul Plinske has had his vehicle damaged a few times. The first incident happened after the Warhawks won their first national football title in 2007, when he found his rear taillights smashed, his hood smashed and his front windshield broken.


Defensive coordinator Brian Borland also had his vehicle damaged after the title game in 2007.


Plinske said athletics staff feel like they are being personally attacked.


“It’s obviously not a coincidence that this occurred again,” he said. “Clearly someone does not like to see our success, and it’s someone from our community who harbors bad feelings and wants to take away from something special. It’s definitely a personal attack, and it’s a huge concern because it threatens our safety and well-being.”


Plinske said he hopes that making the most recent incident public will stop the vandalism.


“This behavior is unacceptable, and I’m tired of it,” he said. “Our coaches, staff and student-athletes deserve better.”


Kiederlen said property crimes such as these often are difficult to solve. But he encourages anyone with any information to call UW-Whitewater police at (262) 472-4660 or Walworth County Crime Stoppers at (262) 723-2677. Callers may remain anonymous.


“It’s a tough one, but there’s always someone out there who knows something,” Kiederlen said. “We’re hoping they’ll come forward because, frankly, this is becoming quite ridiculous.”



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