RIVER FALLS, Wis.-- Ryan Scherz was a member of the UW-River Falls baseball team when the program was cut in 2002. Now he’s back as the new River Falls High School football coach.
The School District of River Falls announced the hiring of Scherz to succeed David Crail as the Wildcats’ head coach Friday, March 19. Crail had previously been named the district’s new activities director and will start his new position July 1, while Scherz, the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator under Crail since 2017, is looking forward to getting back to work as head coach after COVID limited the Wildcats to just three games in 2020.
“I felt like we were really just beginning the work,” Scherz said. “Programs don't typically develop overnight, and I felt like with our coaching staff and the players we have, I really think we're on the cusp of greatness. So I want to try to continue that.”
Scherz, a graduate of Northwestern High School (Maple, WI), earned his bachelor's degree from UW-River Falls before completing his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.
He served as an assistant football coach at Northwestern High School from 2007-16, with seven of those seasons as offensive coordinator alongside Crail.
When Crail took over the head coaching job at River Falls in 2017, Scherz jumped at the opportunity to return to his old college town and has been offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at River Falls the past four seasons, helping the Wildcats to back-to-back Big Rivers Conference championships in 2018 and 2019. He’s been a teacher at River Falls High School since 2019.
Scherz said he fell in love with River Falls as a college student at UWRF, and was excited to return in 2017.
“I played baseball here until it got cut and then I got to coach high school with Coach (Ryan) Bishop, my senior year of college and I just loved it,” he said. “It gave me a whole new appreciation different from being at the university. And then my wife and I had actually talked about moving back, regardless of the situation with Coach Grail, and decided the timing of it worked out really good. We were super excited to come back and the last four years have been awesome.”
In addition to his football duties Scherz also currently serves as an assistant baseball coach at the high school and volunteer softball coach within the youth program. He said he appreciates the rewards that come from working with kids and building relationships.
“My dad was a high school football and baseball coach so I grew up with it,” he said. “Certainly no one had a bigger impact on me than him. I've talked about it with other coaches and there's not many other jobs where you get to really invest with a group of people-- assistant coaches and players-- and try to do something great. That's not most people's nine to five. There's no substitute for that.”
In its statement announcing the hiring, the school district praised Scherz’s work with the Wildcat football team and his commitment to the students of River Falls.
“Ryan has been vital to the success of the Wildcat program over the last four years. His coaching methods have gone far beyond the teaching of the game of football. His desire and ability to connect with the students of River Falls High School has paved the way for students to leave the River Falls program with a firm understanding of what it means to be an individual of high character and a valuable, contributing member of our community.”
Scherz and his wife Vicki have two daughters, Reagan, age 11, and Harper 9, and reside in River Falls.