Racine Raiders

The Racine Raiders American football club is a Mid-States Football League team based in Racine, Wisconsin. Founded in 1953, they are the oldest minor league football team still operating in Wisconsin (United States). After a decade-long drought, the team has risen to prominence again, winning a national championship in two of the past six years, bringing their total to nine national titles. The Raiders were the first minor league football team to gain 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit status from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Organization is composed entirely of volunteers.

Racine Raiders
LeagueCSFL (1953, 1962–1975)
BSFL (1954–1959)
TSFL (1960–1961)
NSFL (1978–1981, 1983–1985)
AFA (1982)
MWFL (1986–1990, 1992–1994)
Independent (1991)
MCFL (1995–2002)
NAFL (2003–2009)
MSFL (2010, 2012–present)
Elite MCFL (2011)
Team historyRacine Raiders (1953–1975)
North Shore Gladiators (1978)
Racine Gladiators (1979–1985)
Racine Raiders (1986–present)
Based inRacine, Wisconsin
StadiumHorlick Field
ColorsBlack, Silver, Original Cardinal Red
PresidentMatt Nelson
Head coachWilbert Kennedy
Championships10(1981, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1995, 2001, 2012, 2014,2019)
Division titles20
DancersRaiders Dance and Stunt Team
MascotR.J. Raider

Helmet Design: Silver background with a cowboy bandit in black with an eye patch on the left eye with a half and half bandanna of cardinal and black.

President: Matt Nelson

General Manager: Robbie Harrington

Head Coach: Wilbert Kennedy

Franchise history


Wigs Konicek, a local restaurateur at the time, started the Racine Raiders in 1953. The team began in the Bi-States Football League (BSFL) and won their first league championship in 1954.

The team was able to sustain itself until 1975 when it disbanded. Although they did not field a team for the 1976 and 1977 season, they remained organized for those seasons. New owners started the Racine Gladiators in 1978. They paid players and were successful on the field, winning three National Championships. Unfortunately, the team fell on hard times and disbanded in 1985.

In 1986, Bob Milkie, a retired bearing company executive, Joe Mooney, a police sergeant, Jess Levin, a local banker, and others rebuilt the team, this time as community-owned, non-profit organization.

Perhaps the biggest moment in the team's history, as well as that of minor league football, came in 1989 when the team traveled to Ottawa, Canada, to play in a World Championship game. While the team won the game in five degree weather and a blizzard, just playing the game was the important element. The team was now able to apply for, and received, 501(c)3 Not-For-Profit status from the Internal Revenue Service, setting the tone for dozens of minor league football teams since to be able to do the same.

The Raiders have won nine National Championships and have had nearly a dozen players with National Football League (NFL) experience. They also have 31 players, coaches or staff in the American Football Association (AFA) Semi Pro Hall of Fame, more than any other team.

2016 Season Schedule

Date Opponent Home/Away Result
June 11 Chicago Mustangs Home W, 35-22
June 18 Milwaukee County Chargers Home W, 28-18
June 25 Muskego Hitmen Home W, 16-6
July 2 Columbus Fire (PAFL) Home W, 26-19
July 9 Door County Destroyers Home W, 31-13
July 16 Racine Threat Away W, 42-14
July 23 Sheboygan County Rebels Away W, 57-27
July 30 Milwaukee County Chargers Away W, 35-6
August 6 Muskego Hitmen Away W, 45-7
August 13 Door County Destroyers Away W, 45-25
August 20 Racine Threat Home
August 27 Sheboygan County Rebels Home
Mid-States Football League (MSFL) Playoffs
September 10 MSFL Quarterfinals TBD
September 17 MSFL Divisional Championship TBD
October 1 MSFL Championship TBD

American Football Association (AFA) Minor League Football Hall of Fame

1982 Harry Gilbert Coach Category
1987 Bob Milkie Player Category
1988 Kurt Kampendahl Player Category
1988 Ed O'Reilly Coach Category
1989 Greg Johnson Player Category
1990 Charlie Bliss Player Category
1994 Norm Killion Coach Category
1996 Ron Hart Player Category
1997 Tom Kohr Coach Category
1999 Arnie Garber Coach Category
1999 Joe Mooney Executive Category
2000 John Scardina Player Category
2001 Phil Micech Player Category
2002 Tony Lombardo Player Category
2003 Jordan Kopac Coach Category
2003 Dennis Galipo Player Category
2004 Brian Forston Player Category
2004 Brian Erickson Player Category
2005 Ron Anton Player Category
2005 Terry Converse Coach Category
2005 Gary Kuykendall Player Category
2005 Mike Willkomm Player Category
2006 Dan Dragan Player Category
2006 Gary Suhr Media Category
2007 Chris Pivovar Coach Category
2007 Scott Smith Player Category
2010 Greg Fictum Player Category
2010 Jerry Kupper Coach Category
2013 Wilbert Kennedy Player Category
2013 Brian Jansen Player Category
2015 Pedro Trevino Coach Category
2016 Adam Walker Player Category
2018 Todd Gorsline Player Category
2018 John Mamerow Player Category
2019 Mark Trudel Player Category
2019 Don Wadewitz Media Category

Minor League Football News Hall of Fame

2007 Brian Forston
2007 Peter Deates
2007 Jordan Kopac
2015 Gary Griffin
2016 Don Wadewitz

Retired numbers

10 Jim May Quarterback 1964–1965
11 Charlie Bliss Quarterback 1980–1989, 1992
23 Tony Lombardo Running back 1962–1966
51 Bob Milkie Center 1957–1971
53 L. Fred Vondra Center 1979–1985
55 Wilbert Kennedy Defensive tackle 1988–2009
74 Kurt Kampendahl Defensive tackle 1982–1993
75 Ron Hart Defensive tackle 1964–1975
82 Ron Anton Tight end 1964–1973
83 Phil Micech Defensive end/Defensive tackle/Tight end 1985–1995, 2001

Players That Played Professional Outdoor Football

Don Perkins, Green Bay Packers (1943–1945), Chicago Bears (1945–1946)
Don Deerwester, Chicago Cardinals (Unknown Years), Cleveland Browns (Unknown Years) [1]
Jim Haluska, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns (1956) [2]
Dave Smith (fullback), Houston Oilers (1960–1964) Sporting News All-AFL in 1960. Member of AFL's first two championship teams in 1960 and 1961.
Tony Lombardo, Philadelphia Eagles (1964)
Brian Lindstrom, Buffalo Bills (1972) [3]
Greg Dubinetz, Cincinnati Bengals (1975), Charlotte Hornets (1975), British Columbia Lions (1977), New York Giants (1977), Toronto Argonauts (1976, 1978), Washington Redskins (1979), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (1980)
Tim Rucks, New York Jets (1983)[4]
Ron Daugherty, Minnesota Vikings (1987)
Phil Micech, Minnesota Vikings (1987)
Kevin Webster, Minnesota Vikings (1987) [5]
Brett Wilson, Minnesota Vikings (1987)
Matt Turk, Washington Redskins (1995–99), Miami Dolphins (2000–01, 2003–05), New York Jets (2002), St. Louis Rams (2006), Houston Texans (2007–2010;2011), Jacksonville Jaguars (2011).
Brent Moss, St. Louis Rams (1995)

Head coaches

1953 Don Perkins (1-2-2)
1953 Les Kalchik (1-6-0)
1954–1962 Frank Schinkowitch (46-47-5)
1963 Jim Haluska (2-8-0)
1964–1967, 1982 Harry Gilbert (44-9-2)
1968–1969 Jim Thompson (11-12-0)
1970–1972 Bruno Wojtaszek (15-24-0)
1973–1974 Warren Greco (16-9-0)
1975, 1979 Larry Benjamin (15-12)
1980–81, 1986–90, 1997–2000 Bob Milkie (137-29-0)
1983–1984 Pete Bock (32-3-0)
1985 Rich McClure (9-7-0)
1991–1994 Terry Converse (49-3-0)
1995–1996 Kurt Kampendahl (29-4-0)
2002–2004 Gregg Brenner (36-10-0)
2001, 2005–2007, 2011 Jordan Kopac (63-20-0)
2008–2010 John Mamerow (17-10-0)
2012–2013 Gino Perfetto (28-3-0)
2014–present Wilbert Kennedy (30-3-0)

Current coaching staff

Head Coach

Offensive Coaches

  • Chris Hicks – Offensive Coordinator
  • Matt Kallin – Offensive Line
  • Don Schultz – Assistant Offensive Line
  • Jack Takerian – Wide Receivers
  • Alex Powell – Assistant Offensive Coach

Defensive Coaches

  • Chris Pivovar – Defensive Coordinator
  • Chad Svendsen – Defensive Line
  • Pete Deates – Linebackers
  • Pedro Trevino -Defensive Backs

Special Teams Coaches

  • Nick Aiello – Special Teams Coordinator

Quality Control Coaches

  • Brian Erickson – Field Operations


  1. Legacy Obituaries , accessed August 4, 2015.
  2. The Milwaukee Sentinel "Berzinski, Haluska sign with Racine", accessed June 23, 2011.
  3. Arizona Star website , accessed July 10, 2013.
  4. Tim Rucks, 1960-2015. Carthage College Athletics.
  5. Sheboygan Press "North Wall of Fame to Induct 3", accessed March 10, 2015.

Further reading

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