Brillion's Dick Sheahan has seen a lot as an assistant football coach the past years.
Sheahan, 72, is a part-time assistant for the Lions and helps coach the defensive line. He was hired by the district in 1962 as a social studies teacher and began his coaching the following year and he's been a fixture on the Lions sideline ever since.
The 1962 St. Norbert College graduate has also seen the game evolve firsthand over all those years. And it was interesting to get the thoughts of a coach who has probably forgotten more about the game than most people will ever know.
And in case you're wondering, the game has changed in certain respects according to Sheahan.
"(The changes) have been primarily in two categories," Sheahan said. "One is the strength and size of the kids. And the other is the advent of technology."
Sheahan, a 1958 Reedsville High School graduate, said there have been some noticeable differences in the physical makeup of the players.
"It used to be back in the '60s and '70s, that if I was able to have six or seven good farm boys on the team, then I would have a pretty good line. That's what I would always tell coach (former Brillion head coach Al) Coenen," Sheahan said. "Well today that's no longer true. The farm boys now are (playing too many video games). They're not out there in July and August throwing those 80-pound bales and developing their strength.
"Back then, nobody lifted weights. It was very unusual to do so. You didn't really need to."
But it's in the weight room where most players now develop the strength necessary to perform in the trenches.
"Now the boy who is born and raised on the farm is really no stronger than the boy who doesn't do any farm work. That's a factor," Sheahan said. "You have to get them in the weight room and we do a good job of doing that, which is a big part of our success."
Sheahan was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2005 and cites that as a memorable accomplishment as well as being a part of four state championships with the Lions in 1984, 2003, 2004 and 2010.
He also pointed to how advanced the game has become in terms of technology as a big change over the years.
"Back in the '60s and '70s when we would scout games, we had a clipboard," he said. "Then in the '80s, we really got high-tech and had an audio recorder and thought we were doing a great job there. Then we went to film, and now we have the Hudl (video software), which is just dynamite.
"I think the coaching staffs and the teams, the kids are so much better prepared in preparing for their opponent then they were 30 or 40 years ago."
Sheahan retired from teaching in 1998, but still helps out the Lions every day during the preseason and on Wednesdays and game nights in the fall.
As long as he has his health, Sheahan plans on remaining on the Lions sideline for at least the near future.
"I still have a passion for the game," he said. "It's a great game and I enjoy being around the kids. It keeps me young."
THE WEEK AHEAD
Andrew Thompson, Hortonville senior quarterback: Thompson gives us his thoughts on the undefeated Polar Bears as well as views from the entertainment world on Thursday, in print and online at postcrescent.com.
Menasha football, Wednesday, 7 p.m.: Members of the Menasha football team join us at Makers Sports Grill, 700 Shelfhout Lane, Kimberly, to talk about their season and the upcoming WIAA postseason. Online at postcrescent.com.
FOOTBALL LIVESTREAM OF THE WEEK:
Berlin at Xavier, Friday, 6:45 p.m.: Hawks quarterback Matt Ferris closes in on the state record for touchdown passes in this Eastern Valley Conference regular season finale. Online at postcrescent.com.
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
"Just found out that it's possible to shut four of your fingers between the car and the door." - Mikayla Truax, @Mikayla_Truax, Kimberly girls' volleyball
"Yes I'm a girl and I play basketball. There's nothing you do about it #stopstaring." - Kimmi Meulemans, @kimmiemeulemans, Appleton West girls' basketball