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Former Craig coach O'Leary named Milton High's football coach

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John Barry
April 17, 2013

— Bill O'Leary is back where he belongs—on the sideline barking out orders.

The 60-year-old O'Leary was named Milton High's football coach Tuesday morning. He replaces Jeff Bachinski, who resigned after last season. O'Leary is the fifth football coach in school history. He was chosen from a pool of nearly 40 candidates.

After leading Janesville Craig to seven straight WIAA Division 1 playoff appearances, O'Leary resigned as head coach in 2008. He retired in June of 2009 from the Janesville School District following a 35-year career as a special education teacher to spend more time with his family.

So why come back now after four years away?

"I never really left (football)," O'Leary said. "I was volunteering at the high-school level and was coaching my son's (Patrick) youth team since he was in sixth grade.

"I had no intention of being a head coach again, but when the Milton position came up, I'm sure I would've regretted the decision if I didn't throw my name into the hat."

The energetic O'Leary takes over a Milton program that is rich in tradition. The school won Division 3 state titles in 1986 and 1989 and made 10 consecutive playoff appearances from 2001-10. The Red Hawks failed to make the playoffs the last two seasons.

"The two things I can guarantee you will see when Milton takes the field on Friday nights are intensity and enthusiasm," O'Leary said. "It comes down to doing the little things right that allows for big things to happen.

"There's talent in this town starting with our youth program. It's a matter of getting that talent to work hard, put in the time in the weight room and relish being part of the proud football tradition at Milton."

Although O'Leary is not expecting to revamp the entire playbook at Milton, he does expect changes on both sides of the ball. The defense will switch to a 4-4 scheme with an emphasis on ball hawking. Offensively, O'Leary hopes to implement more of a ball-control attack with four-wide sets still an option depending on the opposing defenses.

With the likes of Monona Grove and Madison Edgewood in the Badger South Conference, and powerhouses Waunakee and DeForest in the Badger North, O'Leary knows the climb back to the top will not happen overnight.

"I'm not talking about conference championships right away—although down the road that is what the goal is," O'Leary said. "I'm talking about finding a way to be ready for that first play against DeForest in our first game of the year.

"If these kids buy into it and prepare themselves the right way, I'm more than happy to use all the information I've gained in playing and coaching football to help them succeed.

"I have no inhibitions about my age. I might not get down and do barrel rolls with the kids at practice to show them how it's done like a did years ago, but I'll be right there with them. Anyone that knows me knows that when I take something on, I'm all in."



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