St. Mary coach reaches 100-win milestone
October 02. 2012 4:22PM
Though the slim away match in Colman Sept. 21 handed the St. Mary Cardinal football team a thrillingly close victory, the overtime win also proved a milestone for longtime coach Ross Flemmer, whose more than a decade of teaching and coaching at the school resulted in his 100th career win with the Dells football program.
With 12 completed years under his belt, Flemmer’s record with St. Mary includes a handful of undefeated seasons, including four instances of 10-win runs, as well as two state runner-up titles.
And with his 100th win now a reality, the coach is quick to recognize the St. Mary athletic program for its work through the years.
“I think what it says for St. Mary’s athletics is that we’ve had a lot of kids over the years who have dedicated a lot of time into this program,” Flemmer said. “Also, all of the great coaches I have had the pleasure to work with over the years and all the time and energy they have put into the program.”
Flemmer’s colleagues, players and football families have felt the effect of his work throughout all facets of life at St. Mary.
Fr. Gregory Tschakert at St. Mary Church said that one of Flemmer’s great attributes is that he’s effective both on and off the field. “He is not only a great coach but more important a great mentor for all of our students and an outstanding educator,” he said.
Tammy Michel, whose sons Casey and Jason both played for the St. Mary Cardinals under coach Flemmer, said that the teacher has been a good example for his players and students.
“Ross Flemmer has coached both of our boys in football for their entire career, and, after graduating, they both came back to coach under him,” she said. “They have a huge amount of admiration and respect for Ross and have learned so much from him, both on and off the field.”
Tammy touts Flemmer’s skills as an educator, as well as a sports mentor. “The kids at St. Mary are truly blessed to have him. He is an amazing role model, and his influence in their lives reaches far beyond football.”
Tammy’s older son Casey has gone on to work as defensive coordinator for the football team at McCook Central/Montrose. He said that one of the St. Mary football coach’s best traits was his consistency at leading by example.
“Coach Flemmer always preached to us about hard work, dedication and, above all, pride in what you do,” Casey said. “He showed us what can be accomplished when you put your heart and soul into something, and all those values he taught us are values that I carry with me every day in everything I do.”
For his future career, Casey Michel said that hands-on learning from his high school coach did more for him than books or videos could’ve done.
“Not only did I learn about the game itself, but about what’s really important in football and in life,” he said.
“Coach Flemmer would never mention winning in any speech he gave. He would talk about playing with class, giving it everything you had every play, performing to the best of your ability, belief in and love for yourself and your teammates and always and most importantly playing with pride.”
And the Cardinal coach has made that influence evident in his current team’s makeup as well. Junior Leon Maxwell said that Flemmer is an important guide in all aspects of high school life. “He’s a good coach – he pushes us to be the best we can be, not only in football, but in your regular life.”
“He’s easy to get along with,” fellow junior player Jared Scholten said. “He always pushes you to be as good as you can and get better.”
And the constructive guidance the coach has provided for the Cardinal players has had positive effects for junior Ben Bunkers. “If you make a mistake he always has some way of telling you how to do it right,” he said. “He always lets you know that you can do better.”
With a full schedule of games still ahead for the Cardinals, the coach has high hopes for his 2012 players. “For the rest of this season, our goal is to get better each game,” he said. “If we can do that, I think we will have a lot of success the rest of this year.”
Though the milestones beyond 100 seem far off to the Cardinal coach, he’s confident in his players’ abilities, ever-increasing numbers and odds at continuing a winning tradition at the school.
“I’ve enjoyed all the years I’ve done this, and I’ve gotten the opportunity to coach some great young men and work with some great coaches along the way,” Flemmer said. “I feel very blessed to have been given the opportunity to coach here and enjoy doing it.”