Thursday, August 13, 2009

Huron League Coaches

One of the reasons I think the Huron League is such a good football conference is because of it's coaches. Good coaching in high school football is a must if you want to have a good football program. Let's look closely at the Huron League in that regard. I think it is safe to say that the top four teams in the league are Airport, Jefferson, SMCC and Milan in no particular order. These schools have hard working experienced coaches who know what it takes to win. At this point they have put more time into their programs than the other coaches in the league and that experience shows a majority of the time.

Marc Cisco has been coaching at Jefferson since basically the beginning of time. Actually he has been coaching 43 seasons coming into this one. Cisco was a less than stellar 31-54-3 in his first 10 seasons. Since that time he has had only 8 losing seasons in 32 years and his record includes a 1994 State Championship. Whether you like Cisco's offensive system or not the guys wins games consistently.

Jack Giarmo has been an outstanding coach for SMCC since he took over in the late 90's. Giarmo's first season was a woeful 1-8 but since then the Falcons have been a state power in their division. Once again Giarmo plays a system that isn't flashy but it produces results. SMCC is easily the smallest school in the league but nobody ever looks forward to playing them. I can't help but think that Giarmo will win a State Championship in the near future.

When Eric Redmond arrived at Airport in 1996 did anybody really expect him to turn the Jet program around? The Jets had only had 5 winning season in the previous 40 years. Redmond took his lumps early on going 3-6 in his first two seasons. From then on Airport has basically been a team to be reckoned with in the Huron League. Some will argue that Airport is bigger than every other school in the league but why didn't they win prior to that. Redmond is an experienced coach who constantly puts the time in to make sure his team is the absolute best that they can be.

Steve Robb has been coaching at Milan the past 24 seasons. He has had great seasons, mediocre seasons and a few bad ones. He has built a program in which he puts his trust in his seniors to provide leadership both during the season and during the off-season in which his seniors basically run the weight room program. He constantly has 45 -50 kids on the team and has been a master of the two-platoon system. His teams are always ready to play and are never an easy "W" for anyone.

The other coaches are at different points in their careers when it comes to their respective schools. You have a couple of youngsters trying to build programs and you have a couple of seasoned veterans.

Joe Pruchnicki has been coaching about as long as anyone in the State of Michigan and has had numerous head coaching stops. He has taken a few schools to the playoffs and was a nice find for the Rams when they hired him 4 years ago. It's hard to imagine that someone has a smaller playbook than Marc Cisco, Pruchnicki simply writes the plays on his fingers. Pruchnicki has brought some great experience to Flat Rock and it has resulted in a much more competitive program that has gone 9-9 the past two seasons.

Jeff Stergalas takes over this season at Riverview. Stergalas himself is a product of what many call the "Cradle of Coaches" at Riverview. Stergalas is known for the great success he had at Fordson High School in Dearborn which included a State Championship with the Tractors. It will probably take some time before the Pirates challenge for a league title but the numbers are already up at Riverview and a winning season is probably right around the corner.

Many thought Rick Dorn was crazy when he hired Dan Kalbfleish over at New Boston Huron. The kid was fresh out of college and was a meager 22 years old. Kalbfleish hasn't lit the world on fire record wise since he arrived but who would against this Huron League schedule. He has changed the entire culture at Huron when it comes to football. Last year's 4-5 record was their best since 1978 and the Chiefs scored a school record for points. Kalbfleish is a tireless worker who has all of his kids in the program lifting weights year round. Look for Kalbfleish to be around as long as a Cisco and look for him to start winning. He is doing everything right and just may need a bit more experience in this excellent coaches league.

Many believe that success may not be an option for John Bodner over at Grosse Ile. The Red Devils have had success over the years but many of their athletes flock to the upteen other sports they offer on the island. This should undoubtedly be Bodner's best team he has had but how does a young coach with limited experience be successful in this gauntlet of great coaches? Bodner doubles as the track coach on the island and has been able to get his athletes to run track and play football. If he can establish some depth the wins will eventually come.

We really do have some excellent coaches in this league and a well played brand of football. I think the two go hand in hand. Only a few short weeeks until the first games of the season. I look forward to watching these coaches match wits.


Anonymous said...

Great Blog, and excellent article on the coaches...

447MLC said...

couldnt agree more with the top four teams. Jefferson, Airport, Milan, and CC are constantly teams to reckon with and it all boils down to the coaching. Even the lesser coaches of this league have tons of upside, with a couple wiley vets coming in to turn some programs around. You have to appreciate the stories that could come out of this season. If i had to pick a top two, in my opinion, i would go with cisco, robb as the top two...but redman and giarmo are two excelent coaches that have kept stability in the program. Steve Robb has kept a great program throughout the years, and the staff has changed the attitude surrounding the program and have in my opinion done more with less in the past couple of season. As for a person like marc cisco, the program has literally ran the same offense for decades, and has remained sucessful, even with the birth of air cisco in the past couple of years. He is a classic coach that you cant help but love.

Anonymous said...

Success @ GI is going to be very difficult at this point in time. The skill positions are solid with Teen possibly being the best RB in the league, but without an offensive and defensive line it is impossible to be successfull. You have to have size up front, especially in a smash mouth league like the Huron League. I predict one win this season over Detroit Western to open up. They will not beat a Huron League team.

Anonymous said...

GI has a lot of people back, and the have better numbers this year, Bodner should be a great coach in the future, just needs some talent. Teen might possibly be the best player in the Huron League this year. I still say SMCC is the best team in the league this year though.

Anonymous said...

GI in the underdog role will serve them well. A good scrimmage does not predict a season but clearly no one takes them serious. 6 home games with hungry players...strap it up tight boys.

Anonymous said...

Teen is not the best in the league... i would take lovell or conner before him just because teen was inconsistent

Anonymous said...

Riverview will be a powerhouse in the near future. Once Coach Stergalas' regime takes hold Riverview will be a fierce competitor in the Huron league. Not to mention the powerful Riverview J.V squad.