Mike McDowell hired as Morenci varsity football coach 2012.06.06

Written by David Green.


Morenci has a new head football coach for the 2012 season and it’s a name most people in the area know.

Veteran coach Mike McDowell was hired unanimously by the board of education Monday night, with member Gary Ries absent. Seven people applied for the coaching job, along with a few who expressed interest in the position when they applied for the assistant principal/athletic director job.

McDowell was part of Morenci’s football program for more than 30 years, but he stopped coaching when he retired from teaching after the 2008-09 school year.

McDowell served as a varsity assistant for six years, starting under Harold Hall and Greg Lamley. He served as the head varsity coach for one season when his son Travis was a senior in high school, but for most of his coaching career he led the junior varsity program.

McDowell will be assisted by Matt Bostick and Dan Hoffman. A new coach, Tim Roberts, was introduced at a parents meeting to lead the junior varsity team, although the school board has not yet hired the candidate. Roberts is an Adrian native who is finishing up his undergraduate studies at Central Michigan University. He has assisted two high school programs and he applied for Morenci’s head coaching job.

McDowell said the team will have some young players on the line, but he’s expecting good senior leadership to pull the squad together.

Athletic director Phil Stark told the school board that McDowell’s name came up often when he spoke to people about the football program and he approached McDowell to see if he would consider applying for the job.

Stark said he appreciates the enthusiasm McDowell has already shown for the position.

CONTRACT—Board members voted 5-1 in support of a three-year contract extension for superintendent Dr. Michael Osborne. Morenci’s shared services committee met with representatives from Hudson’s committee to work out the details of the shared superintendent contract.

Board trustee Phil McCaskey cast the “no” vote, but he explained later that it’s not from a lack of support for Dr. Osborne. One of the provisions of the new contract calls for a six percent wage cut—requested by the superintendent—and McCaskey is opposed to him taking a cut in pay.

The contract includes a change in mileage reimbursement due to the travel that Osborne makes between the two districts.

When the shared superintendent job started, explained Morenci board president Scott Merillat, Osborne was expected to generally spend two days in Morenci and two day in Hudson, with the fifth day alternating every other week.

In reality, Merillat said, Osborne spends some time in each district many days. The new contract will address the extra mileage required.

SCHEDULE—The board voted to revert back to a six-class school day rather than the current five-class day. The change will allow more electives, said secondary principal Kelli Campbell, and less reliance on on-line classes. It will also allow Tech Center students to leave at the end of the class period rather than during class.

RETIREMENT—The board accepted the retirement of mathematics teacher Dennis Quist who is wrapping up a 34-year career with the school district.

Dr. Osborne expressed his appreciation for Quist’s many years of service to the community.

JAPAN—Art teacher Kym Ries showed photos from her recent trip to Japan. She was one of two teachers in the county selected for the annual trip involving Lenawee students and staff.

PARADE—Teacher Sally Kruger said staff members have taken counselor Diana Fallot’s suggestion to create a float for the Town and Country Festival parade. Kruger created a brochure about the school to give to those watching the parade and the county teachers’ union will buy Morenci school pencils to give away.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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