April 4, 2019
By David Nordby The Brillion News
MADISON – The City of Brillion has its latest connection to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Ken Belanger, who grew up in Brillion and graduated from Brillion High School in 1962, was part of the 2019 class that was inducted Saturday night in Madison.
“It was just great. The association does such a good job of making it a really big deal but classy,” Belanger said.
Ken Belanger pictured in the 1962 Brillion High School yearbook
He coached the last 17 years of his 52 year career for Fredric High School in Northwestern Wisconsin. Prior to that, he spent 35 years coaching in Zumbrota, Minnesota.
With Fredric, his record was 105-69 with two conference titles. For Zumbrota, which later merged with Mazeppa, his record was 183-146-2.
“I’ve always said it was a great way to spend a lifetime in terms of employment to be able to teach and coach,” Belanger said.
Belanger has the unique distinction of being inducted into two football halls of fame. He was inducted into the Minnesota Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in April 2001, months after his retirement from Zumbrota.
Belanger’s roots are traced back to Brillion, a time that he speaks fondly of.
“The town was great. I loved growing up in Brillion, loved going to high school in Brillion. Great people, great friends,” Belanger said.
Belanger was the starting quarterback in football and shortstop in baseball. He also qualified for the state track meet three years.
“I was an active guy. I did four sports. I loved being in things and was in band and the choir and the forensics and the play,” Belanger said.
At night he worked at Enneper Garage and Body Shop during his sophomore, junior and senior years.
“Every night that I didn’t have a school activity I worked from six to about 10,” Belanger said.
His coaching roots are in Brillion, too. Al Coenen’s first year of coaching in Brillion as an assistant was Belanger’s junior season. Coenen’s first year as head coach was the following year.
“He was just a tremendous influence on me. My dad passed away when I was young, so Al, he was just great,” Belanger said.
Please see the complete feature in the April 4, 2019 edition of The Brillion News.