The primary goal of new Grafton football head coach Shaun Behrend is to restore some stability to the ever-changing program.

"I want to rebuild the culture here and help the kids learn how to win," said  Behrend, who is Grafton's fourth coach in as many seasons. "We need a more stable program. I want to get the numbers (of players) up and get the Grafton Gladiators players to Grafton High School. I want them to love the experience of football.

"I plan to be back next season and stay at Grafton, and that in itself will be a huge step for this program."

Coached for nine years

Behrend, 37, has coached football for nine years, most recently serving as the offensive coordinator at Edgewater High School in Florida for the past three seasons.

Before that, he was the offensive coordinator for Bloomington (Indiana), the offensive coordinator at Milwaukee Riverside High School during two successful years for the Tigers and an assistant coach at Cedar Grove-Belgium.

Behrend is a Wisconsin native, having been born and raised in Oconomowoc and graduating from the high school there in 1997. He then attended Lakeland College, majoring in business administration and earning a master's in education.

He will be teaching special education at Grafton this fall.

Behrend and wife Alexandria adopted a son, Cortez, and after he graduated from Edgewater High School this past spring, they decided to return to Wisconsin.

"I applied for some positions, and I knew some people from Grafton who urged me to apply (for the head coaching spot)," he said. "This program has been down for a long time, and I am not one to back away from a challenge. I thought this would be the best fit for me."

He said he enjoys coaching because he simply loves football.

"A coach at Lakeland came in and instilled in me the love of the game, and he taught me more about the game," Behrend said.

Role model

He said he wants to work with youths who may need positive role models and teach them how to succeed, both on and off the field.

"I want the kids to be strong academically and to be accountable young men," he said.

Behrend will lead the Black Hawks into their first action at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, at home against Slinger.