Greendale Panthers football team is a family affair

GREENDALE (WITI) -- The final minute of the D3 state title game between the Greendale Panthers and Menona Grove Silver Eagles had every stomach in Camp Randal Stadium in knots.

The Panthers had given up a 17-point lead and trailed the Silver Eagles by four points. As time ran out, Greendale's quarterback, Josh Ringelberg, was sacked twice to end the game.

Behind the heartbreaking loss is a touching story of a father who shared a whirlwind 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," said Greendale coach Keith Ringelberg.

Keith is the father of Panthers' quarterback Josh Ringelberg and his twin brother, Jack, who plays safety for the team. Keith is Greendale's Special Teams Coordinator and Running Backs Coach.

At one point during Keith's 27-year tenure with the program, all three of his sons were on the team. Head Coach Rob Stoltz says he admires the unique situation.

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

Josh says making it to the final game with his dad as part of the coaching staff is something he will never forget and remembers it always being a dream of his to stand on the sidelines of Camp Randall Stadium with his father.

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

The tradition of the Ringelbergs and Greendale football began when Keith played for the Panthers. He went on to play at UW-Platteville before coaching, he says, found him by 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," said Keith. "I gave it three minutes of thought then said absolutely."

Keith says he agreed so quickly because of everything Greendale had given him.

"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," said Keith. "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."

Keith says he will absolutely be coaching for a 28th season and is already excited for his twins' senior year.