CLEAR LAKE | For Fred Wieck, the choice to turn in the keys as the Clear Lake football coach came down to a family decision.
Wieck’s son, Rudy, is the new head coach at Storm Lake. Citing that, Wieck resigned Friday after 27 seasons as the Clear Lake football coach. Wieck said he plans to be a volunteer coach at Storm Lake, helping his son in his first head coaching venture.
“If he wouldn’t have got the job I wouldn’t have resigned,” Wieck said. “There’s no doubt it was hard to do. I’m going to miss it. It’s time. Everything has to come to an end.”
Wieck guided Clear Lake to the Class 3A state title in 2000, a runner-up finish in 2006 and has a career record of 279-91 in 36 seasons.
His 279 wins rank 15th in state history.
The Hall of Fame coach began his coaching career at Plainfield for one season before coaching GMG Garwin for eight years, winning the Class A state championship in 1987.
Wieck led Clear Lake to the playoffs 20 times, including 17 straight years to end his career.
The pinnacle came in 2000 when the Lions beat Harlan 23-20 in three overtimes to capture the Class 3A state title in one of the area’s most memorable games.
“That state title game was awesome, and that season was very fun,” Wieck said. “There have been so many good times. The year we went 4-4 and we won our last game to go 5-4. That was a year after we had our 1-8. To go 5-4 the next year was a great year for us. That turned it around and kind of got us rolling.”
Wieck is one of three coaches to win state titles at two or more schools. Ken Winkler (Treynor, West Marshall) and Gary Swenson (Spencer, West Des Moines Valley) are the others.
Wieck’s teams set the standard for district dominance in the area, going 66-2 over their last 68 regular season games.
“It never seemed easy to me,” he said. “I’d stress about a lot of stuff. You are always scrambling, it seemed like. The assistants I had made it easier. And with the continuity I had with the same staff … we had a good run.”
There’s no question the stability of his staff helped the Lions sustain success.
Curt Charlson was his right-hand man calling the defense. For 18 years, Eric Perry was on Wieck’s staff. Former players Mike Lester and Brian McIntire also made their way back to Clear Lake to assist as coaches.
Clear Lake Athletic Director Dale Ludwig said he has hired one high school football coach in 10 years. That happened nine years ago.
“You hate to see a chapter that was so successful end,” Perry said. “He’s a Hall of Fame football coach. It’s pretty hard to replace a Hall of Famer.”
Added Ludwig, “I totally respect what he’s doing. He’s going to take care of his son.”
Ludwig said Wieck’s departure doesn’t change the expectations of the program.
“We want our programs to be the best in the area and the best in the state, and that isn’t going to change,” Ludwig said. “This is a big deal, but in the same hand we have to keep moving forward and get someone in here who realizes that.”
Clear Lake finished last season 10-1 and was ranked No. 1 in Class 2A throughout the regular season.
Wieck made it clear he craved another championship to cap his career. It never came and his final game as Clear Lake’s head coach ended with a gut-wrenching 20-14 loss to Sioux Center in the playoffs. He said afterward he planned to return. That was until this week when his son received his first head coaching gig.
“It was a tough way to end,” Wieck said of the loss to Sioux Center. “It was one of the toughest of my career.”