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Brookfield East's Lehman elected to WFCA Hall of Fame

Has been involved with Spartans' program since 2003

Lehman

Lehman Photo By John Lehman

Aug. 12, 2014

Brookfield East assistant football coach John Lehman has been elected to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Hall of Fame and will be inducted in March at the annual banquet.

In a long career in coaching, Lehman began his tour in the Brookfield East football program in 2003, serving as the head coach of the Junior Spartans football team (2003-06). He started the group that became head coach Tom Swittel's first senior class during his inaugural season at Brookfield East in 2010.

"That senior class and that team began the very successful run at East for Tom that continues to this very day," Lehman said. "I was a one of two holdover coaches from Sal Logue's Spartans staff that Tom hired to begin his tenure. Since the day I was hired, I consider myself one of the privileged assistant coaches in this state."

Lehman coached that group of seniors that he started with in fifth grade that included his son, Jonathan, Swittel's first quarterback at East.

A Woody Hayes legacy

Since the '10 season, Lehman has served in several capacities for Swittel, both on the field as an offensive position coach and off the field as a leadership coach. Throughout his tenure at East he has coached 10 players that have earned post-season honors.

"I must say that I owe a measurable debt to many high school and college coaches around this state for any ability that I may have to teach football and leadership technique," Lehman said. "I, like most other successful assistant coaches at the many levels, have been blessed to work for high-character, honest and intelligent coaches."

Lehman worked for his brother, Greg, who is a 2003 Hall of Famer, at Washington High School during his last year at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He also played under his brother as a senior during Greg's first year as a head coach after he returned from working on the Ohio State coaching staff of Woody Hayes' 1974 Rose Bowl winning team.

"Those learning experiences were invaluable in shaping my own teaching style and work ethic," John Lehman said. From 1980 through 2002, minus a three-year hiatus for law school studies in Dayton, Ohio, he served as Greg's defensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach.

"Having the opportunity to spend time in the staff rooms of the many coaches that coached under coach Hayes, it became clearer to me where Greg's teaching standards were set," John said.

Many successful players

During his time at Washington, the Purgold enjoyed many successful seasons within the conference and had many players recognized with post-season honors. The team's overall record during his tour with his brother was 106-54, including three conference championships.

"I was very fortunate to have personally coached 57 defensive players that were recognized on either all-conference, all-region or all-state teams in their positions."

But John wanted to emphasize it was more than just winning and losing at Washington.

"Again, to be very clear, our wins-losses in any given year did not accurately represent coaching success with the young men that we coached," he said. "The success in the inner city environment was always measured on behavioral improvements, character and work habit growth and their improved capacity to be good citizens and leaders within the school and neighborhoods. Overall, I am extremely proud of the job that was done at Washington during those years."

Lehman is also proud to have coached under Swittel, who has turned around the Brookfield East program when he took over five years ago.

"I have been challenged as a teacher and a technical expert as a part of Tom's staff," John said. "His continuous pursuit of excellence and personal improvement is greater than any standard that I have been a part of and it is the reason that I have become a better teacher of football over the last five years."

The Spartans are 27-12 the past four years, including a conference championship and five playoff victories.

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