Greendale football is family affair for coach and twin players

GREENDALE (WITI) -- Three local high school football teams went to the WIAA state finals and only Arrowhead came back with a title. However, the Greendale Panthers have proven their rich family tradition is a state title in and of itself.

The final minute of the Division III state title game between Greendale and Menona Grove had every stomach in Camp Randall in knots.

The Panthers had given up a 17-point lead and now trailed the Silver Eagles by four.

As time ran out, and Greendale's quarterback Josh Ringelberg was sacked twice to end the game, tears ran down the cheeks of Panthers players and fans.

But behind the heartbreaking loss is a touching story of a father sharing a whirlwind of a season with his two sons.

"As a parent, living this with two hats on made it incredibly fun and incredibly anxious at the same time," Panthers Special Teams Coordinator and Running Backs Coach Keith Ringelberg said.

Ringelberg is the father of the Panthers quarterback and his twin brother Zach -- a safety.

At one point during Ringelberg's 27-year tenure with the program, he had all three of his sons on the team.

Head Coach Rob Stoltz admires the unique situation.

"Anytime you can coach your children, head coach or assistant coach, it's a pretty special thing. It's a life memory," Stoltz said.

Making it to the state's final game with your dad as part of the coaching staff is something Josh will never forget. It was always a dream of his to stand on the sidelines at Camp Randall Stadium with his father.

"He's been a coach here for awhile, and has been around this team for awhile. I saw him take the 2006 team there, and that's what I wanted to do -- come here. I worked on those goals and we worked on those goals and as a team we came up short," Josh Ringelberg said.

So how did the tradition begin?

Keith Ringelberg played for the Panthers and then went on to play at UW-Platteville. When he was done there, coaching found him on accident.

"When I finished there, I came back to work in Milwaukee, and they asked me if I was interested in coaching the youth at all, and I gave it three minutes of thought, then said 'absolutely,'" Ringelberg said.

Ringelberg says he quickly agreed because Greendale had given him so much.

"I felt like I owed Greendale football a lot. I moved to Greendale when I was a junior in high school, from Brookfield, and the move was difficult, and it was based on that I had lost my dad four years prior to that move. When I got to Greendale, there were three coaches: Terry Schatzki, Steve Gavinksy, who our field is named after, and John Loading that really put their arm around me and gave me a foundation that I didn't have at that time in my life when I was 16 years old, so I think that kind of stuck with me. When I got back and had the opportunity to do the same, I jumped at it," Ringelberg said.

So will there be a 28th year?

Ringelberg says "absolutely" He's already excited for the fall and the twins' senior season.

Keith Ringelberg runs his own financial business and says it fits in perfectly with his schedule since the market closes at 3.