WATCH: Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame’s Al Werneke Won Back-to Back State Championships at Titusville High
By Space Coast Daily // August 26, 2023
fourth all-time winningest football coach in Florida with a record of 257-93-5
WATCH: Al Werneke preached mental toughness to both his players and staff, as he knew that no one can ever become a champion or win championships without it. When he passed away in 1997, he was the fourth all-time winningest football coach in the state of Florida, with a record of 257-93-5.
2016 COACHING INDUCTEE: Coach of the Year 17 Times, Four Florida State Football Titles, Top 10 Greatest Florida Coaches
Albert Earl Werneke was born in 1931 in Terre Haute, Indiana and excelled in both football and baseball at Garfield High School. At 5-feet-6 inches tall, Al’s nickname was “Weenie,” but he was a giant both on the field and in his community.
Al Werneke was co-captain of Coach Donas Dischinger’s football squad for four years, earning the Zimmerman Award and the G-Men’s “Most Valuable Player” award his senior season, once scoring six touchdowns in a game for the Purple Eagles. Werneke was All-Valley, All Western Indiana Conference and All State.
He also co-captained Coach Willard Kehrt’s outstanding basketball teams for his four seasons. Werneke played baseball all four years and also competed on the track team two seasons.
Al’s ambition was to play and coach professional baseball after high school. Graduating from Garfield HS in 1950, Al received at commencement the “Laverne K. McMillan Award”– the highest award given yearly to the senior voted to be the best in all-around athletic and academic ability.
Werneke received a football and baseball scholarship to the University of Indiana in Bloomington. But in 1951, he entered the United States Air Force, serving his country the next three years in Korea and Japan.
In 1955, Al signed a professional baseball contract with the Cleveland Indians and played in their minor league system. In 1956, he enrolled at Indiana State University, playing football and baseball, and received his Bachelor of Science and a Masters Degree in Education and Guidance.
In 1958, Al Werneke’s coaching career began at Schulte High School, as an assistant. In 1962, Al earned his first job as a head football coach at Union High School in Dugger, Indiana.
STUFF LEGENDS ARE MADE OF
From that moment forward, the rest of his coaching career, as they say, is the stuff legends are made of:
■ Coached 38 years, 33 as a Head Coach, 7 different schools
■ Coached his first undefeated team in Flora, Illinois. (1966)
■ Came to Florida in 1971, winning back-to-back state titles at Belle Glades Central HS in 1971 and 1972
■ Came to Titusville High School in 1975, coaching 12 seasons (1975-1983 and 1988-1990)
■ Won back-to back state championships at Titusville in 1982 and 1983
■ Won a state runner-up title at Titusville in 1980
■ Made six Final Four appearances as a head coach
■ Selected “Coach of the Year” 17 times
■ Selected to coach the Florida All-Star team 4 times
■ Head Coach for Team Florida in the 1986 inaugural Florida-Georgia game, which Team Florida won 16-7
■ Inducted into the Florida Athletic Coaches Associations “Hall of Fame” in 1994
■ Inducted into the FHSAA Hall of Fame in 2003 (posthumously)
■ In 2007, was selected as one of the 10 greatest coaches of the first 100 years, as the FHSAA celebrated the anniversary of 100 Years of Florida High School Football.
■ When he passed in 1997, he was the fourth all-time winningest football coach in the state of Florida, with a record of 257-93-5
Al Werneke preached mental toughness to both his players and staff, as he knew that no one can ever become a champion or win championships without it. He was a genius at breaking down the enemy, exposing and exploiting their weaknesses.
Coach Wernecke’s selection and induction into the 2016 Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame class put a closure on one of the greatest coaching careers in Space Coast history.
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