(Coach Spotlight) - Tom "Kief" Kiefer, (RIP)
Kiefer was our trencher coach, the offensive and defensive lines, and our history teacher. He would tease us all the time and had Mark Baranowski, known as "Baro," the starting right guard on the team, fill his two water jugs each day in class because Kiefer was a diabetic and needed to drink lots of fluids. Kiefer liked to razz Baro because they shared a connection—they both had the same birthday. In 1984, Kiefer came out of retirement to coach the trenches. He had previously coached the 1975 Vanden football team Sac-Joaquin Section champions and coached the trenches at Vanden from 1964—1976. Kiefer was a master at what it took to make a good lineman, as he'd been a trencher during his football career. He put us through many drills every practice, and they seemed to go on endlessly. Drill after drill. Coach Kiefer came up with the unusual idea to have the offensive linemen yell out movie-character names as we went to the line of scrimmage and point at the defensive players, as a reminder when we would hike the ball and to confuse the defense, right as the ball was hiked. It gave us an edge. One time out of ten, though, it meant something. We might point at the middle linebacker and all yell the same movie-character name, then we ran right up the gut at him. It kept defenses guessing. That was Coach Tom Kiefer's game plan. I doubt it was ever used before or since. Coach Kiefer was a big man in stature but had a bigger heart with his trench crew. He always sat with the trenchers in the back on the bus going to and coming from games. We knew he cared about us, and we felt the same for him. Kiefer coached two of the three Vanden Section Championship lines. He was our coach, our teacher, mentor, and friend. We lost Kiefer about 15 years ago, sadly. RIP, Coach. I hope to play on your trench crew again one day. Thanks for the memories, Kief. You took names. Tom Kiefer was an alumnus of the University of San Francisco where he was the starting right guard and defensive tackle on the football team. The same positions Baro played.