Mike McDowell hired as Morenci varsity football coach 2012.06.06

Written by David Green.

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.

  • Homecoming Court
    HOMECOMING—One senior candidate will be chosen Morenci’s fall homecoming queen during half-time ceremonies Friday at the football field. In the back row are seniors Mikayla Price, who will be escorted by Mason Vaughn; Madison Bachman, escorted by Kiegan Merillat, and Mikayla Reinke, escorted by Griffin Grieder. Senior Ariana Roseman is absent from the photo. Her escort is Garrett Smith. In the front is sophomore Abbie White, who will be escorted by Ryder Price; junior Madysen Schmitz, escorted by Harley McCaskey and freshman Madison Keller, escorted by Jarett Cook.
  • 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.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • 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.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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