Woodlan assistant gives generosity to generations

October 13, 2021

Woodlan assistant gives generosity to generations
Bruce Amstutz has been a staple on the Warriors' sidelines since the late-1980s


If you’re ever at a Woodlan football game, look on the sideline and there you’ll find Bruce Amstutz.


Since 1988, Amstutz has become an invaluable part of the Warriors’ coaching staff.

“(Max Amstutz) did stats was ready to retire, and they were looking for someone to take his place,” Bruce recalls. “My daughters went to school here, and I attended all the games. So, Coach Etzler wanted to know if I stepped in. I said, ‘Well, I’ll try it.’ And I’ve been here since.”

[Editor's note: Bruce Amstutz is a distant cousin to Max Amstutz, who is grandfather of East Noble head coach Luke Amstutz.]

For Bruce, ever since has been 34 seasons, more than 330 games (only missing one), and hours of dedication to the Woodlan football program.

“I used to go home on Friday nights after doing a game, and I’d be up until 2 or 3 in the morning totaling all my stats so that I could get it first to coach first thing Saturday morning," Bruce adds. "Now, by the time I get home, I’ve got a copy of it on my computer because they’ve sent it to me by email.”

Bruce can also be found fixing equipment, running drills at practice, or in the pressbox at junior varsity games. Since his retirement from Parkview Health a few years ago, Bruce has spent more time at Etzler Field during football season.

“He’s a Johnny-on-the-spot,” Woodlan head coach Mike Smith tells the Parkview Sports Network. “If I say, ‘Coach I need you to tally how many times we jumped offsides, or didn’t get the play off in 40 seconds, he sits there and tallies it. He takes attendance. He’s at all of our weightlifting sessions.”

For Bruce, his most important role with the team is being a listening ear and a voice of advince if and when the young men need it.

“I’m kind of here as a sounding board. If the kids have a concern. Maybe they just want to talk to somebody, they come and see me. I like to think we’re helping them out a little; and they need the help sometimes.”

“We have a special bond with Bruce,” senior center/defensive end Isaiah Brumbaugh adds. “He helps us out, being there for us. He keeps us in line. We can joke around with him.”

Bruce, 76, grew up and still lives in Harlan with his wife of 58 years, Virginia. He was in the penultimate graduating class of Harlan High School, and quickly started following Woodlan football from its origins in the 1960s. And ultimately for Bruce, as much as he has helped generations of Warrior football players, being part of the Woodlan program has helped him cope with tragedy.

“I experienced a tremendous loss years ago. And I had trouble with it. It was a personal loss. I took this up as my hobby. I don’t play golf or that sort of thing. This is my hobby. Just being around kids just keep me going and keep my coming back," Bruce says.

“Bruce is our rock,” senior lineman Seth Mason says. “He’s the most dedicated person I’ve ever met, and he volunteers all his time to us.”

Woodlan is one of 26 high schools that partner with Parkview Sports Medicine for athletic training, sports performance, nutrition, athletic rehab and other sports medicine services for Warrior student-athletes. Learn more at www.parkviewsportsmedicine.com.


written & produced by Eric Dutkiewicz

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