Kaufmann returns to New Ulm for coaching job

NEW ULM — For Eric Kaufmann, being hired as the new head football coach at New Ulm High School was an opportunity to come home again.

Kaufmann taught and coached at New Ulm Cathedral from 1999-2005, where he was an assistant coach to Denny Lux in football and an assistant head baseball coach to Bob Weier where the Greyhounds won the state Class A title in 2005.

After 2005, Kaufmann was at Pillager, Minnesota for three years where he was the head baseball coach and assistant football coach for the Huskies.

From there, he went to Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sundburg.

“I was the assistant football coach there for two years and then I took over as head football coach and was head coach there from 2014-17,” he said. After 2017, Kaufmann quit coaching football and moved up to the Twin Cities. Kaufmann taught at a charter school but did not coach.

When Kaufmann saw that there was a teaching and head football coaching job at New Ulm High School, he and his wife Jena knew that it was an opportunity and time to move back to New Ulm and into coaching football again.

“We loved it there,” he said. “My wife always told me that we wish that we would have never left. I loved teaching at Cathedral — I was a fireman there at the Goosetown station.”

When talking with Activities Director Troy Guentzel and principal Mark Bergman, one of the biggest obstacles that he said he needs to hurdle is getting participation numbers back up.

“Numbers are a problem everywhere for football because of the concussion issues but there are other sports that have concussions like hockey and soccer,” Kaufmann said. “When you are a 4A school like New Ulm High School and are only getting 40 some kids out for football, it is hard to win games. We need to get more kids out and excited about football. I want to win. When I was at Cathedral in 2003 we had all three high schools in New Ulm in the state tournament that year. There are good kids and athletes around.

“I have been coaching football now for 23 years and I want the kids to understand and have fun,” he said. “We need to work together and get the idea back that football is fun.”

Guentzel said that Kaufmann may see a former Greyhounds football player on his staff as Brandon Beranek, a 2015 graduate of New Ulm Cathedral who also played at St. John’s University, has been hired as a math teacher for District 88.

“Eric has had a conversation about adding him to his coaching staff and from what I have been told he [Beranek] will be a good asset to our school and community.”

Kaufmann will teach high school physical education.