Long-time Milton-based friends Jerry Schliem and Terry McCann had plans to take in the Rolling Stones concert at Soldier Field in Chicago on June 19.
Then something came up for Schliem that put Mick and his mates on the sidelines.
Schliem was nominated and accepted for a spot in the American Football Association Semi-Pro Hall of Fame as a coach.
Schliem was recognized for his coaching exploits with the Delavan Red Devils from 1973-1980, with the Janesville Cavaliers in 1984 and 1985, and with the Fran Ken Knights in the German Football League for one summer in 1992.
His weekend went from listening to “Sympathy for The Devil” to reliving the good times he had with the Red Devils.
Schliem was one of three coaches inducted in the hall of fame, which was established in 1981 and is located next door to the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
He started his semi-pro coaching career in 1973 as an offensive coordinator for the Red Devils. He then took over head coaching duties from his long-time coaching partner Dan Pernat in 1977 and was head coach until 1980.
The Red Devils won the Northern States Football League championship four straight seasons from 1977-1980.
Delavan won the Minor Professional Football Association national championship in both 1980 and 1981.
“We had great teams,” Schliem said.
Schliem, who was a 2003 inductee into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Hall of Fame and 2004 inductee into the Milton Hall of Fame, was introduced into the AFA Hall by his two sons, Mark and Todd.
Jerry pointed out his oldest brother, Dick, in the crowd. He informed the audience that both he and his brother were sitting in the end zone at Lambeau Field during the frigid Ice Bowl game in 1967.
“You can see he has no hair, but I have some,” Jerry told the audience at Canton. “I wore a warm stocking cap, and he didn’t.”
Area football fans know Schliem did more than just coach semi-pro teams. After being head coach at Oconto High, Schliem’s area coaching career began as an assistant at Milton High in 1970. In 1974, he took over as the then Redmen head coach.
The dual responsibilities led for hectic times shuffling between the high school and semi-pro teams.
“Eleven years in semi-pro football,” Schliem said. “Tuesday and Thursday practices after high school practices. Sometimes, they’d (Red Devils) pick me up in a bus at the high school and away we’d go.”
After spending several seasons as an assistant under Bill O’Leary at Janesville Craig, Schliem spent the last four seasons as an assistant at Milton High.
And now, as high school coaches are preparing practice plans for the upcoming season, Schliem has no such work schedule. After 53 straight seasons on the sidelines, Schliem has decided to retire from coaching.
“I want to go see my grandchildren in New Orleans,” he said. “I want to spend more time down there.
“My mind says, ‘No Jerry, you can’t do it any more.’”
His mind has the support of Jerry’s wife, Carol.
He won’t give up high school football altogether. He plans to take in games this season with his son, Todd, and other friends.
“I love the game,” Schliem said. “It’s been very good to me.”
Even if it did keep him away from the Rolling Stones a few weeks ago.
Tom Miller is a sports writer/page designer for The Gazette. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.