Story's that Coach Haege told me from back in the day
When Coach was a head high school coach in Michigan one of his teams was playing the #1 ranked offense in the State. So the night before the game Coach Haege watered the football field. He left the water hose on the football field all night long. The next day, when the other teams coaches arrived, they looked up into the sky to see if it had rained. The field was swamped. Coach Haege's team won 6 to 0.
In 1964, during Coach Haege's first season as a head high school coach, his team, St. Ignace Michigan, lost 2 games in a row. After the second loss, Coach Haege made his team stay on the football field after the game was over and run sprints, followed by the gauntlet drill. The gauntlet drill is a drill where the players line up single file in 2 rows, facing each other about 5 yards apart. The player running the gauntlet has to go back and forth to each player, as each player form tackles them, until they reach the end of the row. After an hour the lights on the football field were turned off. Then Coach Haege made his players crawl off of the field. Coach Haege's team then won 6 straight games and the conference championship.
At Traverse City St. Francis High School in Michigan in 1970, Coach Haege's running back, Randy Ogden, fumbled twice during a game. During practice the following week, Coach Haege ran one play over and over again, the I-right 24 power to Randy Ogden. During practice Coach Haege called over the JV football team on to the football field, and they played defense with the back up varsity defense. It was Coach Haege's starting offense vs. 30 players. Coach Haege worked the football down the field, running the I right 24 power to the same running back. When Coach Haege's starting varsity offense got to the 5 yard line, he called the 9th grade football team onto the football field. It was then 50 players vs.the starting varsity offense. Coach Haege called the I-right 24 power again. Coach Haege's running back jumped over a pile of players and scored, but he gashed his forearm on a bobbed wire fence that lined a cherry orchard that was next to the football field. Coach Haege's running back wrapped up his forearm, and was ready to play. The very first play of the game the following week, Coach Haege ran the I-right 24 power and Randy Ogden ran 80 yards for a tourchdown. Randy Ogden made Coach Haege's All-Time High School team as his starting running back.
Coach Haege loved telling stories and reminiscing about days gone by. When I was a kid he use to tell me these same stories over and over again with a big grin of happiness, nostalgia, and laughter on his face. One day, when I was in about 4th grade, Coach Haege was driving me to school, and the song "I did it my way" by Frank Sinatra was on the radio. Coach Haege, who was going through a tough period in his life, had tears of anger in his eyes and told me, "Danny, when I die I want to be remembered as "The coach who wouldn't be coached."
Disclaimer: Do not try any of Coach Haege's coaching tactics that are in these stories in this day and age.
When Coach Haege was the Head Football Coach at Traverse City St.Francis High School in Michigan in 1970 his team got beat. Coach Haege took the game football, in front of his entire team, and walked over to the other team's head football coach and handed him the game ball. Coach Haege never made excuses when his teams lost. "You only blame yourself and your own team for the loss" Coach Haege told me and " Then the next time you play your team will be more disciplined, play better and not make excuses."
Coach Haege liked going back and playing teams he had once coached and beating them. In 1970 Coach Haege's Traverse City St.Francis team played Coach Haege's former team, St. Ignace Michigan in St. Ignace. Coach Haege had his team's bus stop at the grotto shrine in Indian River Michigan on their way to St. Ignace before the game as a way of motivating his team, where his team had a moment of silence so they were focused for the game. Just before the game in St.Ignace, the St.Ignace QB, Eddie Lester who went on to play at Northern Michigan University, walked up to Coach Haege and told him "we are going to throw the bomb the very first play of the game." The very first play of the game St. Ignace scored on a 60 yard TD pass. Coach Haege calmly shook his head, and I am sure Coach Haege had "that look" in his eye that only Coach Haege could have when he was angry. Coach Haege's Traverse City St. Francis team then scored 48 points and beat St. Ignace 48 to 14. We had that game football on our living room mantle for many years.
Going Back Home To Get The Win
When Coach Haege was the Head Football Coach at Two Rivers Wisconsin High School in 1968 they played a team who's team's mascot was a ghost riding a horse. The mascot kept riding around the track on the horse and near the Two River's team, and it was irritating Coach Haege. So Coach Haege told his kicker to grab the mascot and rip him off of the horse. Coach Haege's kicker grabbed the mascot and threw him to the ground. Coach Haege's team won that game, and finished with a record of 8 and 0 that season.
Before his very first game as Virginia High School's new Head Football Coach in Virginia Minnesota in 1971 Coach Haege guaranteed a win in front of the entire school at the school's pep rally and school assembly. Virginia High School had only won 3 games in the previous 3 seasons. Coach Haege's team won 24 to 12.
Here is Art Haege in 2004. Coach Haege would not allow discrimination or similar conduct on his teams. Coach Haege, when he was a high school coach, fired an assistant coach who was mocking a gay person who was speaking at a school event. It was the principle of the thing. If you didn't behave like a Pro, and play like a Pro, Coach Haege didn't want you on his team.
Here is Art Haege back in the day.