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Appleton North football head coach preparing players since program's inception

Rob Salm has been coaching the Lightning since Appleton North High School started in 1995
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Posted at 10:29 PM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-06 23:29:45-04

APPLETON, Wis. (NBC 26) — NBC 26's Sports Showdown game of the week features Kimberly traveling to take on Appleton North.

The Lightning's current head coach has been with the program since day one.

"In today's world, maybe coaches don't stay around as much at school for a long amount of time," Appleton North football head coach Rob Salm said.

Since the high school opened, Salm has been keeping the players focused.

He began as special teams coordinator in 1995. He later became defensive coordinator, and then took on the head coaching job in 2008.

"If you know me as a person, I'm a pretty loyal individual," Salm said.

And, as he calls himself, a hometown boy.

"I feel like this is the place I want to be," Salm said.

Salm gives the same messages to his players every year.

He says he wants his players to choose the difficult right over the easy wrong.

The program also has four cornerstones.

"Which is love, effort, attitude, and discipline," Salm said. "But that 'love' is the key piece, because the love really represents being a great teammate, loving the process, embracing what it takes to be a great football player."

Which is exactly what senior linebacker Ben Isom says he has learned from Coach Salm.

"You have to love everyone around you," Isom said. "If you just do that, you can go anywhere in life."

Salm says the Lightning have won six conference championships. However, they have yet to go to a state title game. But he says there's lots to be proud of.

"I'm more proud of the young men that I think we're continuing to develop and to leave our program with," Salm said.

And as for Salm's future, his commitment likely won't change.

"I have no goal to be on any other sidelines than Appleton North," Salm said.

Pretty obvious to see why, especially for someone who's been loyal since the beginning.

Outside of coaching, Salm serves as the Dean of Students for sophomore and seniors at Appleton North High School. He is also a health teacher there.

This Friday, you can watch the showdown matchup between Appleton North and Kimberly on WACY TV32 at 7 p.m. We will have pregame coverage of the matchup on NBC 26.