On Saturday, January 22, 2011, three hundred people gathered at The Quilted Bear to celebrate Coach Phil Datka’s forty-two years of service to the Germantown School District. Germantown High School’s Gridiron Club hosted the event and Mr. Ron Bast was the master of ceremonies. In attendance were Datka’s wife Mary, his three children: Mrs. Jessica Jacklin, Dr. Allison Cashman, and Mr. Doug Datka, other relatives, colleagues, friends, coaches, parents, players - both former and current, and community leaders.
The evening began at 5:00 P.M. with an informal reception, where guests could meet with Coach Datka, browse through all the Germantown football paraphernalia, or view a video presentation projected continuously on three screens around the room’s perimeter. At approximately 7:00 P.M., guest speaker, Coach Barry Alvarez, University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Athletic Director, was introduced by Mr. Bast. Coach Alvarez shared his admiration for Coach Datka and he stated that Datka had a reputation around the state for not just winning football games, but also for his integrity in holding each player accountable for his academics and behaviors off the field. Alvarez concluded by saying, “There are few people around the state that I hold in as high regard as Coach Datka; and I am deeply honored to be here tonight to participate in this celebration.”
The after-dinner program began with a video presentation created and produced by former Germantown assistant football coach and current English teacher, Tom Kujawa, and Germantown School District audio visual specialist, Jim Meixner. The twenty-minute video was a collage of testimonies by Datka’s close friends and associates, together with game footage throughout the years. In the video, Datka recounted memories of his own childhood and of his life at Germantown. Datka’s three children all spoke on behalf of their father. They spoke of perseverance and humility, traits both modeled by their father. They told humorous stories of growing up with a father who was committed to the Germantown football program. They stated that both their parents are dedicated to the entire Germantown community.
The guest of honor, Coach Datka, concluded the evening with his typically humble, humorous, poignant, and appreciative remarks. He thanked his family, fellow coaches, the community, and the school district, among others, for their support. He thanked the parents for the opportunity to coach and to have an impact on their children. He stressed, “Football is not about the X’s and the O’s; it’s really about the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s and the Aaron’s and the Bob’s and the Charlie’s and the Dave’s and the …” Datka continued with numerous other boys’ names. He didn’t want to leave anyone out for his “word of the day” was gratitude. He wanted all his players to know how grateful he was to have been their football coach and, in some cases, their life coach.
The Village and Town of Germantown, and the Village of Richfield, Town of Polk, and Town of Jackson are served by the dedicated Germantown School District. Students receive excellent educational opportunities through the district’s six schools which include: Amy Belle, County Line, MacArthur, and Rockfield Elementary Schools, Kennedy Middle School, and Germantown High School. The district’s regular curriculum, led by a treasury of knowledgeable faculty and staff, is complemented by an array of specialized programs and co-curricular activities.
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