Paul Kling of Eau Claire Memorial High School has been named Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week, a program presented by the Wisconsin National Guard, the organization announced Wednesday.

Kling’s Old Abes team improved to 8-0 after defeating conference-rival Rice Lake by a score of 32-23.  Friday’s victory secured, at least, a tie for the Big Rivers Conference title for the first time since 1998.  This comes only three seasons after the team went 0-9 when Kling first took over the program.

“The coaches and kids remember where we’ve come from,” said Kling.  “Our players have done a great job believing in the coaches, the system, and each other.  It’s been a real nice ride but we know that we have some big games coming up and we’re not ready for this season to end.”

An Eau Claire, Wis., native, Kling attended Fall Creek High School before transferring and graduating from Spooner in 1991.  After high school, he attended the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where he played wide receiver under head coach Roger Harring. Before graduating in 1996, Kling began his coaching career as a student assistant for the Eagles. He accepted his first high school assistant coaching position at Eau Claire Memorial in 2001 before being promoted to head coach in 2008.  Kling is also the science /chemistry teacher at the high school.      

Kling and his staff oversee a program of 115 players, including a varsity roster of 65.  He is assisted by Ed Boelter, Steve Chronis, Bobby Diaz, Ben Ganske, Joe Graboski, Blake Handrick, Mark Holley, Andy Jarzynski, Ben Johnson, Al Sega, Kevin Thompson, and Eric Traxler.

Kling and his wife, Stephanie, have a daughter, Norah and are expecting their second child in January.

The Packers and the Wisconsin National Guard will recognize one outstanding high school coach as their 'Coach of the Week' winner during the 2011 high school football season. Winners are awarded several items and privileges, including a $2,000 donation to the school's football program from the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin National Guard, and the NFL, as well as recognition of the award on packers.com.

Nominations for Coach of the Week should be submitted by 9 a.m. every Monday to Tim Schroeder, youth football coordinator, at coachoftheweek@packers.com (e-mail) or by fax at (920) 569-7302. Please include the nominee's name, address, school, phone number, and reason he/she is deserving of the award.