Haberman Set to Lead GEHS Football

Griffins to Get Experienced Head Coach




Coach Justin Haberman

Foundations have been planted and the birth of new programs has begun. As the final bricks are laid, lights put up, a new spotlight shines on Gretna East. Speculation and questions have been stirring around the new school and the year that is to come. Starting up a team can be difficult, so the district has done the first part for the Gretna East football team. They have hired former Omaha Westside assistant coach Mr. Justin Haberman to lead the team as their first head coach.
Coach Haberman fits into his new role perfectly. Growing up in Beaumont, California, Haberman loved playing any type of sport, but decided to stick with football following high school. He played middle linebacker at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, California, then transferred to Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. He ended up playing for the Omaha Beef which is part of the Champions Indoor Football League. He then accepted his first coaching job at Dana College, followed by a start to his teaching career at Omaha Westside. While there, he stuck to the defense while keeping watch on the opposing side.
“I’m a very defensive-minded coach, but I think what that’s made me is a well-rounded head coach,” Mr. Haberman said. “I have to understand defenses to stop people, but I also have to understand offenses to know what they’re doing to be successful against us.”
Experience is key to lead a team, and Coach Haberman has just that. He coached various offensive and defensive positions and was co-defensive coordinator for 11 years. During his coaching tenure at Westside, the Warriors qualified for playoffs 17 out of 18 years, were State Champions in 2020, and State Runners Up in 2006, 2011, 2019 and 2021. Now, he comes to Gretna East to coach a team he is more than excited about.
“Gretna is just a tremendous school district. I followed education – I love education. I’ve been a teacher for 20 years, and I see the great things that Gretna is doing and I definitely wanted to be a part of it,” Coach Haberman said. “Coaching against you guys (GHS) in the state championship two years ago, I see the fan base, and it’s absolutely amazing. The people of Gretna are awesome. I’m looking forward to working for them, and developing a championship program.”
Not only does he coach football, but he has experience in multiple other sports. This spring will be his third year as head coach for the boy’s track team at Westside. Haberman was an assistant wrestling coach from 2016-2021 and continues to co-sponsor the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also helps out in many other areas, including serving as the Department Chair of the Physical Education Department and teaching courses such as Strength and Conditioning, Sports Skills, Lifetime Fitness and CPR classes.
Outside of teaching and coaching, Coach Haberman keeps himself busy with many hobbies and interests. Being from California, he cheers for the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Angels and the Las Vegas Raiders. He also enjoys spending time hunting, fishing and admiring classic trucks. He and his wife, Amy, spend lots of time watching their three kids compete. Cade is a sophomore student-athlete at Northern Illinois University. Cole is a freshman student-athlete at Morningside University, and Chloe is a junior at Westside High School. Many can find Coach Haberman watching his kids’ sporting events when they play.
Beginning a program is daunting to many, but Coach Haberman is embracing it with open arms. GHS will be losing a pool of players, but the talent is being spread across the schools. The Dragons have gone to the state championship the past two years and most of these players have the experience. He is getting all these pieces and is only a few months away from meeting the team for summer workouts.
“I’m excited to work with the amazing athletes that we’re going to get to work with and I’m excited to be a part of the Gretna schools,” Coach Haberman said. “I can’t wait to see that Griffin and the black and gold.”