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Mount Horeb/Barneveld football coach Ryan Kleppe has resigned, Mount Horeb athletic director and associate principal Kolleen Nesheim announced Tuesday.

The football team was notified Tuesday afternoon, Nesheim said.

Kleppe, who was hired in 2016, compiled a 17-4 record in two seasons.

Kleppe said he planned to remain teaching in the school district this spring. He said he still has a desire to remain in coaching and planned to see what options would be available to him this spring. 

"It was not an easy call," he said. "I don't have anything right now. I will see what options there are this spring. I'm still staying on as a teacher in the district.

"It's the right time in my life to step back and look in a new direction. It's tough. This is where I grew up. I was part of this same football program. I have made a lot of lifelong relationships, a lot of great relationships."

He said he was proud of what the Vikings were able to accomplish and believed a strong foundation has been established. 

"We have a phenomenal thing going," Kleppe, 33, said. "One person doesn't make the program. We have a great foundation, great facilities, our Gridiron Club is phenomenal." 

This fall, he led the Vikings to a 9-2 record. They finished second in the Badger North Conference with a 6-1 record, one game behind Waunakee, which won the WIAA Division 2 state title. Third-seeded Mount Horeb/Barneveld defeated Evansville/Albany 56-7 in the first round of the Division 3 playoffs before falling to second-seeded Waukesha Catholic Memorial 26-20 in the second round.

The Vikings finished 8-2 in his first season in 2016. They finished 5-1 in the Badger North and lost to Delavan-Darien 28-21 in overtime in the first round of the playoffs.

Kleppe said the meeting with the team Tuesday afternoon was emotional. 

He said he would continue to work as strength, speed and conditioning coach this spring. 

Kleppe was a standout football player at Mount Horeb/Barneveld and as a defensive lineman at UW-Whitewater.

He is a 2003 graduate of Mount Horeb, played for and coached at UW-Whitewater, including on staff when the Warhawks won the NCAA Division III national championship in 2007.

Kleppe is a teacher in the district and prior to being hired as football coach, he served as an assistant football coach for Mount Horeb/Barneveld, among other duties at the school.

When he took over as football coach, he replaced Travis Rohrer, who resigned in January, 2016. Kleppe had been a member of Rohrer’s staff.

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Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.