Jeff Klopf knows football.
The Seymour assistant varsity, strength and conditioning, and freshman football coach has played in all levels of the game. His résumé on the gridiron speaks for itself.
Klopf earned All-State honors in both football and track at Montrose High School in Michigan. He was a three-year starter at quarterback, leading the team to three consecutive 9-0 regular seasons.
At Montrose, Klopf played under Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame coach Tony Annese, one of the winningest coaches in the state’s history.
Following graduation, Klopf played QB at Saginaw Valley State University, an NCAA Division II program in Michigan.
At Saginaw Valley, Klopf earned All-Conference, Pizza Hut Player of the Week (six times), and MVP two years in a row.
He played for another well-respected coach in current University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill while with the Rams.
With professional aspirations, Klopf attempted to go straight to the NFL.
“I tried to get with an NFL team right off the bat but didn’t get it right away,” Klopf said. “I was fortunate to be able to continue working on my skills and caught on in the Arena Football League. I had some success there and got tryouts with some NFL teams. The Cleveland Browns showed interest, and I decided to go with them.”
In 2000, Klopf signed a free agent contract with the Browns and got playing time.
“I played throughout the preseason and was then released,” Klopf said. “I had an opportunity to play in NFL Europe. However, I had two babies and had the opportunity to work with General Motors, so I took that. You just never know when the next paycheck will come (in football). I just had to analyze the situation at the time. I probably had another opportunity to get into camp the next year, but having a family early I just wanted to do the right thing for them.”
Following a few years working with GM, Klopf decided to get certified in teaching and got a job with a school in Houston, Texas.
Two years ago, he got an opportunity to work in Seymour and coach for the first time.
“I come from a very successful lineage of coaches,” Klopf said. “What I learned from those two individuals is that the intensity level has to be there every day. Once the kids have that, they will be more confident. There’s a difference between thinking and knowing that you cannot just beat them but dominate them. Once you learn that, I think it will take it to the next step.”
“Coach (Josh) Shattuck was looking for an assistant, and it just so happened there was a teaching job that correlated with what I’m certified in, health and education,” Klopf said. “We were both similarly offensively minded. My roles have changed since then. I’m coaching JV and freshman as well as the head strength and conditioning coach, so I still work with the varsity players. I now have more involvement with players outside of practice and games.”
Klopf, a physical education teacher at Seymour, gets to work with his players and athletes from other sports during the school days in a strength and conditioning class.
In his inaugural season, in 2014, Klopf worked as an assistant coach with the varsity Owls, mainly focusing on wide receivers.
He said he’s invited his new roles with the program.
“With the strength and conditioning program, I see most all of the football players from the freshmen to varsity,” Klopf said. “The strength and conditioning is every day, and we don’t have to take away time after school to lift. It’s a positive step forward getting our kids stronger against tougher teams.
“This summer, I got the kids set up on the weights program. I was able to establish a rapport with the kids. We get to build relationships in the gym.”
One of the things that has impressed Klopf the most about Seymour is its commitment to the football program.
“I can’t put enough emphasis on the administration,” Klopf said. “They want to put a good product out for the community. They see a need to put our coaches in the best possible positions (to succeed). As a coach, we see that desire out of them, and it’s hard on us if we lose. I’m thinking of our superintendent, athletic director and principal after a loss. To come up short is heartbreaking, it’s in the back of our mind we owe it to them.”
During varsity games, you’ll find Klopf either on the sideline or in the press box pushing the Owls to dominate on the field.
What: Seymour (0-1) at Jeffersonville (0-1)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Blair Field
Last outing: Silver Creek def. Seymour 32-28, Pulaski County (Ky.) def. Jeffersonville 64-26.
Series past 30 years: Jeffersonville 10-8