this Oct. 21, 2014, photo, Wisconsin-Whitewater coach Lance
Leipold, rear, speaks with running back Ryan Givens, left,
and receiver Jake Kumerow in Whitewater, Wis. The Division
III coach reached 100 career wins in 106 games, the fastest
to the 100-win plateau in NCAA history.
Lance Leipold has a picturesque view of the football field where
he has had so much success.
Wisconsin-Whitewater coach would arrange his corner office to look
out at Perkins Stadium all the time, but he doesn't like people
sneaking up behind him. There is little chance of that happening
in the record book, either.
52-3 victory last week over Wisconsin-Eau Claire gave Leipold 100
wins in just 106 games. No one in NCAA history has reached the
100-win plateau in such a short time.
It's not a
luminary such as Alabama's Bear Bryant who holds that record. Or
Bobby Bowden. Or Joe Paterno. Or John Gagliardi.
belongs to the 50-year-old Leipold, the coach since 2007 at the
Division III school in a small southern Wisconsin town about 50
miles west of Milwaukee. He would rather brush past such talk to
focus on his job.
this Oct. 21, 2014, photo, Wisconsin-Whitewater athletic
director Amy Edmonds poses for a picture with running back
Ryan Givens, center, and receiver Jake Kumerow in
Whitewater, Wis. The players are holding the trophy for
winning the 2013 Division III football national
think there are more (questions) about what's left to do,"
Leipold said. "What's left to do is we have to beat Oshkosh
Senior running back Ryan Givens said there was no mention of the
milestone last week leading up to the momentous game. An assistant
coach finally brought it up following the convincing win.
had to talk about it.
those are really our wins, and we really did a lot to help him get
to that point," Givens said. "I guess he just kind of
took it for what it was."
shower with a bucket of ice water. Then again, Whitewater has done
a lot of celebrating since Leipold returned to his alma mater as
head coach. The Warhawks have won five Division III national
championships since then, beating Mount Union each time.
the title game to Mount Union in 2008. The only non-playoff year
during Leipold's tenure was 2012, when Whitewater finished 7-3 and
tied for second in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic
this Oct. 21, 2014, photo, Wisconsin-Whitewater college
football coach Lance Leipold answers a question outside
Perkins Stadium in Whitewater, Wis. The Division III coach
reached 100 career wins in 106 games, the fastest to the
100-win plateau in NCAA history.
quarterback at Whitewater and native of nearby Jefferson, Leipold
came home after spending three seasons as associate head coach at
Nebraska-Omaha. Before that, he served as an assistant at Nebraska
for three years under Frank Solich. He left after Solich was fired
in 2003 following a 9-3 regular season.
soured him, at least temporarily, on the big business side of Bowl
Subdivision-level athletics. It was at that point that he focused
on landing a head-coaching job in Division II or III.
also includes a three-year stint as a graduate assistant at
Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez, an experience for which he said he
would be forever grateful.
It was in
Madison, he said, that he learned about some of the qualities
needed for success in the upper Midwest.
"You have to
have good linemen. You have to be able to run the football. You
need to be fundamentally sound," Leipold said. "Those
are some of the base foundations that I've taken with me."
All the way back
to Whitewater, less than an hour's drive from Madison, where
Alvarez is now the Wisconsin athletic director. Leipold was also
the offensive coordinator at Whitewater in 1990, four years after
graduating, under former coach Bob Berezowitz. He had stints
coaching quarterbacks and receivers at Whitewater, too.
Sure, maybe he'll
move on some day, or maybe he won't.
doesn't always mean better. Sometimes it can, but it's about the
right fit, and the right time — and this has been a good fit for
me," Leipold said.
already pretty good when Leipold took over for Berezowitz, who
left after 22 seasons.
elevated the program to an elite level. The athletic department
overall is enjoying historic success, too.
basketball and baseball teams joined football with Division III
national championships in 2013-14 — the first time on any
collegiate level that one school won titles in those three sports
in one season. Add to that a title for women's gymnastics, and
athletic director Amy Edmonds called last season "pretty
The success in
football helped spur other teams.
stated believing, 'Hey, if football won a national championship in
the NCAA, we could do that too,'" Edmonds said.
Division III does
not award athletic scholarships. But football's success has helped
other sports in recruiting. There is an impact on the broader
university, too, Edmonds said, with about 2,000 first-year
students coming in each year for the past five years.
starting to get a little more attention," she said. Without
athletic scholarships it can be hard "to keep up with the
Joneses, if you will, in facilities and salaries and what we all
have to accomplish with our small budgets."
accomplished so much already. He's comfortable in that chair in
the corner office.
It has quite the
wasn't for the fact that I don't like people walking in behind
me," Leipold said, "I probably would face and work this
way a lot."