Neenah High School paid tribute to a long-time football coach by naming the field in his honor.
Harry Kelderman has formed more WIAA football tournaments than any other coach, with 16 participations.
After more than 30 years of training, Kelderman’s reputation will precede her forever.
“I grew up in Fox Valley playing football for a rival competitor,” said Neenah football coach Brian Ross. “Neenah has always been the best program, a team to beat and a lot of that or all that was Harry Kelderman in the program he had.”
Harry arrived from Holland in the United States at the age of 11.
At that time, it was impossible to think that he would have had such an impact on the sport he loves.
“I’ve never felt this in my life and I think it’s because I do not consider it as important as most people think,” Kelderman said. “I think I had a good time, I had the opportunity to do something in my life that I always liked and with which I was involved and that I was successful with that and it’s amazing. ”
The field will still bear the name of Harry Kelderman, but his success exceeds the green of Neenah.
His son Kris played in Major League Soccer for years and is now coaching the UW-Milwaukee men’s team.
Something Kris said would not have been possible without his father.
“The fact that I had the privilege of playing for him for four years here at Neenah High School, we have our own memories and it’s an amazing evening,” said Kris Kelderman.
Local 5 asked the former coach how he had done so well for so long.
It’s not just about playing the game.
“For a young man, it’s not just about being a player for you, he’s had a life, you have to understand where he comes from, what he’s dealing with and trying to help all possible ways, “says Harry.
When the Neenah Rockets launch another season, Harry feels humble.
Keeping Neenah’s football alive: that was the goal.
“I’m happy right now, I’m really dead to death, it’s a great honor,” Harry said. “I’m so proud of the people I’ve worked with and that’s all I can say.”
Harry Kelderman was named to the Wisconsin Football Association Hall of Fame in 2011 and to the Neenah Joint School District Hall of Fame in 2018.