Mater Dei Football: Coaching stability key to success



EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Football coaches know that each season is long.

“When I played freshman football. The helmets we wore were some of the first helmets out here, the old leather helmets. Some had facemasks, and some didn’t.”

Joe Dipple been around for a few of those years as both a player and a coach alongside the man who started the program, Len Will.

“He called Len Will a gentleman’s gentleman. That’s the best way to describe Lynn,” said Dipple referencing a plaque that sits inside Mater Dei High School today.

Will came to Evansville from Columbia University, coaching players for years, including linebacker Mike Goebel.

“As I tell the younger players now,  after a couple days I was thinking is this really what I want to do. Am I going to make it?”

Not only did Mike make it, he became the school’s 4th ever head coach, after Joe Gossman and Frank Will continued to build the program.

“Mater Dei people are very loyal to their people,” said Dipple.

A school that relishes the underdog mentality proves to stick with its coaches for more reasons than just loyalty. They can coach.

“Another thing about our coaches. None of them has a losing record,” said Dipple, who also spent time as the Athletic Director at Mater Dei for a period of time.

Coaching stability was on display when decades of work and tradition finally paid off in the beginning of the new millennium.

“That was a unique team. Every position, was like a movie.”

In the fall of 2000, Mater Dei had an undefeated team, but when it found itself in the title game they were considered no match for who they found themselves up against.

“Newspapers said Fort Wayne Lourdes was the best team to play football,” remembers Dipple with a smile.

Mater Dei had a coach who not only played for the school, but took a piece of every other man to lead the program to prepare the team for their big moment.

“It was not a question in most people’s minds of would they win. It was just by how much. From the opening play of the game when Nathan Wildeman ran about an 80 yard run we never looked back. It was 42-3 at halftime. That was a great sense of accomplishment that we were finally able to get over the hump,” said Head Coach Mike Goebel.

70 years of football, 4 coaches, 1 major trophy, and a community of players that continue to grow like family.

Goebel was the head coach on the 2000 State Championship team. He has the longest tenure at Mater Dei leading the helm. This season his is 24th at the top of the program.

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