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Prep Football: Menomonie assistant coach Bundy humbled to be named to Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2021
Prep Football | Menomonie Mustangs

Prep Football: Menomonie assistant coach Bundy humbled to be named to Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2021

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Pat Bundy doesn’t mind admitting it — he feels lucky.

Lucky that he was able to grow up around the game of football while his father Bob led the Menomonie program. Lucky that after graduating from Menomonie in the early 1980s, he was able to return to the team as a coach and learn under the likes of Gene Hatfield and Joe LaBuda.

And lucky that next spring he will take his place among the all-time greats in Wisconsin history after being named as a part of the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

Bundy called the enshrinement “unexpected, appreciated and also humbling” as he joins Tony Biolo (Wisconsin Rapids), Pat Cerroni (UW-Oshkosh), Tony DiSalvo (St. Croix Central) and Steve King (Holmen) as members of the 2021 class.

“It just seems so overwhelming to be included in the hall of fame,” Bundy said.

But make no mistake about it, Bundy’s resume speaks volumes.

Pat’s father Bob guided the Menomonie program during Pat’s youth, leading the team to its first Big Rivers Conference title since the league’s 1963 realignment in 1969 after a 13-6 triumph over Wausau. Bob was active in Menomonie athletics and his son Pat was eager to follow in his footsteps.

“I was riding the buses and toting the water when I was five and six,” Pat said.

Pat played for Hatfield with the football team before graduating in 1981 and returned to the program as an assistant in 1984 and stayed with the team as a coach ever since — with just a four-year break as he pursued his teaching license. Over the years as coordinator, Pat’s defenses have strived to be aggressive and physical.

“Dictate isn’t the right word but we want to do what we try to do and make the other people feel a little bit uncomfortable with what we’re bringing at them,” Pat said of his defenses. “We’re kind of a pressure attacking kind of team, that’s what we try to instill in our kids.”

The success for the Menomonie program since Bundy first returned to the staff in the mid-1980s is easy to see. The program has advanced to state eight times during that time, the first coming under Hatfield with a Division 2 state runner-up finish in 1985 with the last seven appearances coming under LaBuda including Division 2 state championships in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999 and 2002 with runner-up finishes in 1994 and 2003.

Overall the program has advanced to the playoffs in 30 consecutive seasons, won numerous Big Rivers Conference championships and is one of the most consistently strong programs in the state.

But for Bundy, it hasn’t been the wins and state championships that have meant the most — it’s the relationships he’s formed with his fellow coaches, players and community.

“It’s hard to pinpoint, there’s a lot of great things that have happened on the field. But what is really special about all of this is the people – the kids, the other coaches I’ve worked with it,” Bundy said. “I’ve worked at a great school where they’ve supported our community, they’ve supported our program. I’ve been very blessed and very lucky to be associated with a lot of good (people) starting with Coach Hatfield being my coach in high school and getting to learn under him and then obviously under Joe (LaBuda) who is a hall of famer himself.

“I’ve been so lucky to work under so many great people and just been blessed in that regard.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic postponing the Class of 2020’s induction ceremony during the spring, both 2020 and 2021’s groups will be honored together at a ceremony at the Marriott West in Madison on April 10, 2021, and in a unique coincidence, Bundy will be a part of the same enshrinement as LaBuda, who was named as a part of the 2020 class last summer.

“I guess I haven’t really thought about that but that will be a special thing,” Bundy said of he and LaBuda being honored at the same time. “Obviously he’s had a big impact on my career and I’m so lucky to have him.

“I feel pretty lucky.”

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