Middleton football coach Jason Pertzborn resigns

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton football coach Jason Pertzborn resigned Thursday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Middleton High School football coach Jason Pertzborn resigned Thursday citing personal reasons. Pertzborn, who was also a Business Education teacher at MHS, resigned from that position, as well.

The Middleton-Cross Plains School Board unanimously approved both resignations.

Pertzborn had been placed on administrative leave last week following an incident of alleged harassment within the school’s football program. That incident of misconduct — which took place more than two weeks ago — is being investigated by the Middleton Police Department and the school district.

No arrests have been made at this time.

“We are investigating allegations regarding student-to-student conduct within our football program,” said Shannon Valladolid, district director of information and public relations.

Multiple sources told the Times-Tribune the incident took place in the boys locker room at MHS after a training session that took place before school. Pertzborn was not in charge of the morning workout, but was on school grounds.

Neither Pertzborn, or those supervising the training session, were in the locker room at the time of the alleged incident.

After a series of interviews, Pertzborn was placed on administrative leave by school administrators and given the option of either resigning or being fired.

According to sources, Pertzborn hired prominent Madison attorney Stephen P. Hurley who then negotiated a buyout with the Middleton-Cross Plains School District.

Part of buyout included a gag order that prohibits Pertzborn from discussing the incident.

All MHS teachers and employees were also told by district administrators that they would face disciplinary action — including termination — if they were caught discussing the incident with the media.

“Jason’s getting a bad rap,” said one person close to the situation. “They want to make him a fall guy in this whole deal and it’s just not right.”

A second MHS employee added: "Now they want to put this gag order on us. They're more concerned about keeping everybody quiet instead of solving any actual problems."

Superintendent Dana Monogue and principal Peg Shoemaker sent a letter to families in the district Friday morning saying the investigation could take several weeks. A number of parties have already been interviewed during the investigation that started more than a week ago.

“We want the community to know we take incidents like these very seriously,” Monogue said Friday morning. “Getting all the answers we need will take some time.”

Pertzborn served as Middleton’s co-head coach with Tim Simon in 2018, then took over the program in 2019.

Pertzborn’s first team in 2019 went 8-3 overall and reached Level 2 of the postseason. The Cardinals moved their 2020 season to the spring of 2021 due to COVID-19, where they went 3-3 in a modified six-game schedule.

Middleton went 8-4 overall in 2021 and reached Level 3 of the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The Cardinals then went 7-4 in 2022 and reached the second round of the postseason.

In all, Pertzborn’s teams went 26-14 (.650) and extended their streak of playoff appearances to 26 consecutive years — which is tied for the longest in Division 1 with Hartland Arrowhead.

Pertzborn — a 1990 MHS graduate — grew up in the Middleton program.

Pertzborn was a reserve on Middleton’s 1987 state championship team — the last group of Cardinals to hoist a gold ball. He then was a two-year starting quarterback at MHS and a standout baseball player.

Pertzborn played baseball for three years at UW-Stevens Point and graduated from there with a business degree in 1995. He later added a teaching degree from Concordia University.

Pertzborn’s first high school football coaching experience came under Jay Redders at Madison West from 1998-2001. Pertzborn was also the Regents’ offensive coordinator in both 2000 and 2001.

Pertzborn joined Middleton’s staff in 2002 as a volunteer assistant at the sophomore level.

Pertzborn later served as the head sophomore coach for 10 seasons, then jumped to the varsity level in 2013 and became the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator. 

When the 2022 football season ended, Pertzborn was optimistic, excited and enthusiastic about Middleton’s future.

Pertzborn knew the Cardinals would be returning nine all-conference players in 2023 and had a chance to field Middleton’s best team in more than a decade.

“I can’t wait,” Pertzborn said. “We could have a great year.”

If they do, it will now happen without Pertzborn.

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