STS Coach of the Month June 2022

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June 29th, 2022 | Josh Adelman

Soldiers to Sidelines is honored to award Ben Mathe, the Coach of the Month Award for June 2022.

Lieutenant Ben Mathe, USN, Ret., served 22 years in the Navy. He dreamt of becoming a head football coach to lead and inspire his players the way he served his sailors. Coach Mathe’s military experience significantly shaped his coaching style.

Coach Ben Mathe with his football team

“My military experience has been a critical influence on me as a coach. The values of respect, a strong work ethic, and grit drove me throughout my 22 years in the Navy and continue to drive me as the Head Football Coach of Oshkosh West today. Additionally, my time as a Chief Petty Officer taught me the value of putting those in my charge into positions to be successful. Caring enough about those individuals to have difficult conversations about performance, decisions, and consequences while in the military helped develop this skill set to use while coaching the game I love,” says Mathe.

Ben is excited to be coaching at his newest post as Head Football Coach of Oshkosh West High School in Wisconsin. Before Oshkosh West, Ben has coached at several levels throughout the world. “I’ve been coaching since 1996, when I coached my only brother, Jay, his Senior year at Omro High School here in Wisconsin. Since then, I’ve coached high school football in Rota, Spain/Misawa, Japan/San Diego, CA and semi-professional (United States Forces Japan – American Football League) in Misawa, Japan. The feeling of traveling the world, honing your coaching craft, and eventually returning to your hometown to coach ball is indescribable.”

Ben’s eclectic coaching experience sharpened his coaching skills to be most effective in the Oshkosh community. “Growing up playing in the YMCA leagues here in Oshkosh, through high school at Lourdes Academy, there wasn’t an aspect of the game I did not enjoy being around, doing, or talking about. Once I truly understood what coaching the game was and how impactful it could be to those I coached, I instantly fell in love with it. I’ve always taken into account the lessons I’ve learned from each player, coach, team, school, or community to add to my toolbox. These lessons helped my coaching and helped me become a better husband and father. Being an example of what you’re demanding from your players/coaches must be your norm as a football coach.”

Coach Mathe has also been successful in coaching his three sons. It can be challenging to separate roles as father and coach throughout the day with your kids. Nevertheless, Ben is super proud of his sons and his relationship with them as coach/father. “I am most proud of my sons Ethan, Mason, and AJ Mathe….hands down. Having to move several times has been a huge challenge for all three, especially my oldest Ethan, having spent his Freshman year at El Capitan High School in Lakeside, CA. Despite having to leave their friends, teammates, and coaches, all three have responded well to the adversity. Case and point, Ethan was selected after his sophomore year as a unanimous first-team all-conference running-back and the conference co-offensive back of the year for Winneconne High School. He also carried a 3.2 GPA while making all new friends. Seeing them adjust to life here in Wisconsin makes me prouder than I can put into words. I love watching them mature while excelling at the game we all love.”

Pride and joy in coaching comes with sacrifice and persevering through hardship. The difficulty is the sweetener of triumph, and Ben Mathe reminds us of this fact. “And it’s this fact we should always convey to those we coach – challenges are inherent to life; there’s no avoiding them. Rather, it’s how we embrace challenges and defeat them that truly defines us as individuals.”

Through adversity and love, Coach Mathe is poised to lead a wonderful group of high school football players to tremendous success. He represents the very best of the U.S. Military, and he will continue to instill military values of integrity and work ethic in the Oshkosh, Wisconsin community. For this, Soldiers to Sidelines is thrilled to honor Ben Mathe as the June 2022 Coach of the Month.

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