Joe LaBuda retires as Menomonie football coach
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -After a legendary career that saw him win 321 games and five WIAA State football championships at Menomonie, Joe LaBuda is stepping down as head coach of the Mustangs.
LaBuda’s career at Menomonie started 32-years ago and in that time he led the Mustangs to the playoffs an amazing 31-straight seasons. This past season, Menomonie finished 5-1, which put LaBuda’s final record at 321 wins and just 60 losses with the Mustangs,
Five of those wins came in the WIAA State Championship, where Menomonie won titles in 1993, ‘95, ‘97, ‘99 and 2002. The team also made appearances in the finals in 1994 and 2003.
Along the way, LaBuda helped countless players continue their career at the collegiate level, including recently Nate Stanley at Iowa and Mason Stokke at Wisconsin.
In 2020, LaBuda was inducted into the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. His 321 wins rank 7th all-time in Wisconsin.
The legendary coach wanting to do what is best for his players after he retired from teach a few years back.
“I would see the kids that came into the weight room before school, but not being in the school, being able to track kids down and being there for kids when they needed somebody to talk to. It got to the point where it was my fourth year out since I had retired from teaching and it was just one of those things where it became increasingly tough not being in the building.”
LaBuda is proud of the legacy his players have created the past three decades on and off the field.
“All the kids when you see the kids at church when they are adults and see what great dads they are, see them in the community and see what great community members they are, that really makes you feel really good inside.”
The Hall of Fame coach is quick to share the credit of his success with his Mustang football family.
I feel extremely fortunate to coach all the great young men I have had throughout the years and the other thing is I have had an unbelievable coaching staff and we have stayed together for such a long time, and those guys will all still be coaching and whoever takes over will have that advantage also.
LaBuda feels that the program is in good shape for the next leader of the Mustangs.
“You don’t want to ever leave when the cupboard is bare. We have a great group of juniors that will be seniors next year, a great quarterback and a great group of guys, 6 or 7 seniors on defense coming back, two really good classes coming behind them in the sophomore and freshmen class. It was a good time for a transition because whoever takes over will not have that “empty” cupboard. "
And LaBuda is excited to see what the future of Menomonie football holds.
“You hear people say that kids aren’t the same that they used to be, kids are afraid of hard work, I don’t believe that. I think kids still want discipline, I think kids still work hard. We got a lot of kids that have really worked hard and still do. "
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