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FLASHBACK: Central States has new coaches

(NOTE: This article was written by Cam Papara and originally appeared in the Sunday, June 12, 1966, edition of the Racine Journal Times.)

FlashbackFive of the eight Central States Football League teams will have new head coaches this fall and at least two of the vacancies are being filled by former National Football League players.

Bill Butler, a University of Chattanooga halfback drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1958, will direct the Sheboygan Redwings while Gene Cichowski (Indiana), who played with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins, has taken over the Lake County (III.) Rifles’ coaching chores.

Seeks Osmanski

League prestige will advance another step or two if a third former NFL player, Joe Osmanski, the one-time Chicago Bears backfield great, agrees to tutor the Chicago Panthers.

Mrs. Marty O’Connor, general manager of the Panthers, indicated earlier in the week that Osmanski definitely would handle her club. However, Osmanski
said “a couple of things have yet to be resolved” before he agrees to coach the Chicago squad. The one-time Holy Cross star said he would reach a decision within a week.

The Panther coaching post left vacant when Harry (Chick) Jagade, (Indiana), Chicago Bears player in 1954-55, resigned after last season to devote full-time to business

Other New Coaches

The other new coaches are Bob Moerke of the Madison Mustangs and Frank (Poncho) Scheible of the West Allis Racers.

The holdover coaches are George Kulton of the Elmhurst Travelers, Hal Haberman of the Manitowoc Chiefs and Harry Gilbert of the defending champion Racine Raiders.

Actually, Gilbert has yet to sign a 1966 contract but Rollie Dretzka, Raiders’ general manager, stated he is “75 percent sure” that Gilbert again will handle the head coaching chores.

Cichowski replaces Mike Dau as the Lake County tutor. Dau resigning after he was promoted recently to head coach at Lake Forest College. The Rifles had a 7-3 record under Dau in their maiden CSFL season and provided some exciting offensive football, sparked by the passing of Lew Flinn.

Has Irish Aide

A former Indiana halfback, Cichowski spent 1957 with the Steelers and 1958 with the Redskins, then had several standout years with the Elmhurst club. Cichowski, who also coaches New Trier High in Chicago, will have ex-Notre Damer Angelo Dabiero as his assistant.

Butler, 29, a native of Berlin, Wis., played with the Packers in 1958, was sold to Dallas when that team joined the NFL, then spent three seasons with the Minnesota Vikings before playing in Canada last year. Butler, employed by the Kohler Co., has not selected his assistants as yet.

Played at Iowa

Scheible will be the third West Allis head coach since the Racers joined the league last year, and he succeeds a former Racine man, Roy Bushell. A nine-letter winner at Milwaukee Juneau High, Scheible went on to play Army football at Fort Leonard Wood (Mo.), then played at Florida State and Arkansas State from which he was graduated in 1958. Scheible, 35, now is employed by a cement-making company.

Moerke, 27, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, played high school ball at Burlington (Iowa) High, was at the University of Iowa for
two years and then spent the last two at Luther College, where he coached the freshman line after graduation.

Last year, Moerke was an assistant tutor for the Mustangs under Merritt Norvell, who gave up the task when his work took him out of the city. Moerke is the youngest head coach in the league.

The Central States League will enroll a “big name” if Osmanski agrees to handle the Chicago Panthers.

A second-team All-America pick at Holy Cross where he once rambled off three long touchdown runs in less than 12 minutes against Carnegie Tech,
Osmanski played with the Bears (1946-49) to join his brother, Bill.

In Same Backfield

Bill, a Chicago dentist, played for the Bears in 1939, quit a couple of years later to get into World War II, then rejoined the Halas club in 1946. The Osmanski brothers started a couple of games for the Bears, becoming probably the only set of brothers in pro history to work in the same backfield.

Cichowski will open workouts for the Rifles on July 5 while the other squads will wait until the third or fourth week of that month. League openers are Aug. 20, but the Mustangs will play an exhibition against West Allis on Aug. 13 in Madison.