Parker head football coach resigns after 19 seasons
Dye spent countless hours watching film or dissecting teams’ tendencies. Opponents might have had more talent, but nobody worked harder to get his team ready than Dye.
Maybe that’s why, for the past 20 years, Janesville Parker football thrived.
Dye resigned Thursday as Parker’s football coach. He will remain on the Parker staff as athletic director, math teacher and boys track and field coach, but the game nights spent roaming the sideline at Monterey Stadium are over.
“I am a blessed man,” Dye said Thursday. “I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of a staff and a group of guys that carry the same core values that I do. It’s been so much fun, and for me personally, football has been a much bigger part of my professional life than I ever anticipated.
“The program is in a good spot, and although it will be difficult to not be on the field in the fall, I know I’m leaving the program in good hands.”
Consistency will be Dye’s legacy. He took over a program in 1993 that was struggling for wins and participants. With a motto of “Work Together, Stay Together,” Dye believed every kid deserved a chance to be part of something special, and that’s how he sold the Viking football program. The weight room became a gathering place, and wins quickly became the norm.
Parker won its first Big Eight Conference football title in 2000, followed by four more in the last 10 years. The Vikings made the WIAA playoffs in 15 of 19 seasons under Dye, and statewide recognition for his program followed. Dye was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007.
Former Janesville Craig football coach and teacher Bill O’Leary said Dye’s resignation is a big loss for Parker High and the conference.
“Coach Dye is held in such great regard in the Big Eight by a lot of people and for good reason,” O’Leary said. “In this business, where the well-being of kids means everything, Joe did so many great things for kids—on and off the field.
“We had some great Friday night battles that were extremely enjoyable because of the atmosphere at Monterey. You never wanted to lose to Parker, but when you did, at least you knew you lost to someone with the character and class of a coach Dye.”
Middleton football coach Tim Simon views Dye as a mentor. Simon emphasized many of the things that Dye taught to turn Middleton’s program into a Big Eight powerhouse.
“First and foremost, I’m truly saddened by the news,” Simon said. “Joe’s impact on the Big Eight is immeasurable. He was the leader of Big Eight coaches. It’s a tremendous loss for not only Janesville Parker but for our conference, as well.
“I can’t say enough good things about him. He did things the right way and never cut corners. He never lost sight of what was important, and that was having such a positive impact on the lives of so many young men.”
Although Dye has no immediate plans for life without football, the deeply devoted family man knows that spending more time with his wife, Janis, and a new grandson are high on the list.
“I married my best friend 38 years ago, and for that same amount of time, I’ve been in coaching, the last 20 as head coach at Parker,” Dye said. “I’m looking forward to taking walks with my best friend and enjoying other aspects of life I might’ve missed out on.”
Although Dye’s resignation seemed to come out of the blue, he said the decision was his. No outside pressure prompted the move, he stressed.
“It’s not something I’ve really been thinking about, but certainly my family was a driving force,” Dye said. “I’m still going to be an education-based person, but I’ll just be focusing my work in another capacity.”
Although a coach’s success is often judged on wins and losses, Dye is most proud of his players’ achievements off the field.
“Too many times, we focus on the final score,” Dye said. “Probably the No. 1 thing that stands out for me is that our kids graduated on time, worked hard and competed until the last whistle blew.
“We took blue-collar kids that were willing to commit to a cause and tried to mold them so they had an opportunity to chart their own path when they left here. That’s what I’m probably most proud of.”
Parker football will never be the same. Then again, it hasn’t been since Joe Dye took over.