BREAKING: Phil Jacobs Named DHS Football Coach

Jacobs comes to DHS from Siena Heights University

By Joe Ramey

With no usurp needed, Dexter’s former varsity football coach Garrett Chapel (who held the job for 22 days), resigned, calling for a new search to begin and a new spot to be filled.

Within a month of his resignation, the spot has been filled and it been filled heftily. Phil Jacobs, a former varsity coach at Adrian High School and current outside linebackers coach at Siena Heights, was named head coach on Thursday.

Jacobs plans to make an appearance next week to talk to student athletes about his decision to move to Dexter as both a coach and a teacher.

“I feel very privileged to be the head football coach at one of the top school districts in the state,” Jacobs said in a statement. “I am very eager to begin work at Dexter as soon as possible, to spend time with our student-athletes, and to get to work. We will work hard to bring a brand of football that the Dexter community will be proud of.”

His philosophy is one of strength and integrity. Literally. His plan has always been to better a program in the weight room and ensure his team is the “strongest pound for pound” in whatever league they play in.

With a career record of 67-45, Jacobs intends on bringing a winning record from his previous positions to Dexter. His former position included a head coach position at Adrian with five SEC titles and two district titles under his belt. Along with his head coaching position at Adrian was his involvement in the Siena Heights program, most recently as an outside linebackers coach. Of his 25 years of coaching, 11 came at the collegiate level, garnering praise nationwide.

His name was recognized as one of the top 20 turn around coaches in the state and in 2010, and he was recognized as the National Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly.

“We promised our kids we would find a successful coach and teacher to lead the program,” Superintendent Chris Timmis said in a statement. “Phil Jacobs was at the top of our list. Not only is he an incredible coach, but he is also a gifted teacher and tremendous role model for our student-athletes. We could not be more excited to have Coach Jacobs leading the DHS football program and teaching our students.”

BREAKING: Head Football Coach Garrett Chapel Resigns

By Nick LeBlanc, Mason Monroe & Alex Strang

Dexter’s new head varsity football coach, Garrett Chapel, resigned Wednesday, 22 days after being hired.

In addition to being hired as a football coach, Chapel was also hired as a physical education teacher to fill a vacancy created by Eric Santor when he resigned earlier in the year.

“He got our hopes up and crushed our dreams,” sophomore football player Khalid Dimo said. “In his speech to the team he said that we can win here and we won’t quit. And then he quits.”

According to Superintendent Dr. Chris Timmis, Chapel stated that the cause of his resignation was due to immediate family business.  Despite the resignation, Chapel was devoted to the students and players at DHS.

“Mr. Chapel actively pursued this opportunity and showed extreme interest in DHS and our kids,” Timmis said in a statement.  “Every indication we had was that Mr. Chapel was fully invested in our players and Dexter.  It is unfortunate that we have this sudden change in direction.”

After losing their new coach so swiftly, a multitude of emotions were shown by past and current Dexter football players.

“It’s disappointing that the football program keeps suffering setbacks as it’s trying to move forward,” sophomore varsity football player Alex Mills said. “I’m playing tennis [next year].”

“It’s unfortunate,” junior quarterback George Deljevic said, adding he is still planning to play football next year.

“I saw him recruiting a lot of kids so he seemed really committed to turning the program around, so I was surprised when I heard the news,” senior football player Joey Hiser said.

After hearing the sudden news, the administration at DHS plans on re-starting the process of hiring a new coach immediately.

“We will find a high-quality and committed leader for our football program and our students,” Timmis said. “We firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and this opportunity will lead to a greater future for DCS and our students.”

Chapel had been hired to replace former Head Coach Ken Koenig who was asked to resign in late November.

Sport Specialization

Playing only one sport might not give you the athletic performance you are hoping to have

By Alex Strang

Many athletes only play one sport in their later years of high school, but if they want to take their athletics to the next level, that might not be the best option. It also causes overuse injuries because your body is not supposed to do the same movements all year long.

There are many reasons athletes choose to specialize. Some athletes feel pressured to excel at one sport and to put all of their effort into it. Others think that if they practice one sport all year they will have an edge over somebody who plays two or three sports and does not focus on only that sport. Athletes who have aspirations of playing at the next level might think that college coaches want them to play that sport as much as they can, leading them to specialize.

Dexter Athletic Director and Varsity Women’s Basketball Coach Mike Bavineau says that he has seen an increase in specialization. The decrease in two sport athletes has not been too dramatic, but there is a large drop off in three sport athletes: he said only three kids in the entire class of 2016 played three sports.

“You want kids to be in as many pressure situations as possible,” Bavineau said.

When winter rolls around, he wants his players to be used to that pressure of the game being on the line. He says there are many benefits to playing another sport: leadership skills, making them a better teammate, giving the body a rest from one sport, exposing the athlete to competition with different people.

Dexter Athletic Trainer Trevor O’Brien believes that the body needs a break and athletes should not play one sport year round.

“Statistics show that if you play more than one sport you’re less likely to get injured,” O’Brien said. “This is because overuse injuries are more common in one sport athletes. “Your body will adapt to multidirectional movement if you play multiple sports instead of just one movement year round like throwing a baseball.”

All you have to do to give your body a break from the same repetitive movements is to play another sport. Many sports complement each other and improve skills in the other sport. For example, cross country and soccer both have a focus on cardiovascular endurance. Since women’s soccer is in the spring and cross country is in the fall, these sports go hand in hand. Field hockey and ice hockey work similar skills as in lacrosse.

Many female athletes at DHS play field hockey and lacrosse while many male athletes on the ice hockey team also play lacrosse. Lacrosse and hockey are similar sports, but at the same time different enough where they work different movement patterns and planes that will prevent overuse injuries.

Junior Daniel Higgins believes it is a good idea to play two sports that compliment each other and he proves it works. In the fall, Higgins is a starter on the varsity soccer team. In the spring he runs varsity track. He is one of the fastest athletes on both teams.

Last spring he went to states and nationals as a member of the 4×800 meter relay team.

“Both sports improve my cardiovascular endurance and speed, so the two complement each other well,” he said. Soccer helps me with track and the track workouts help me for soccer.”

Most pro athletes played at least two sports in high school, and some even in college. Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson, Robert Griffin III, Jabrill Peppers, and Bo Jackson are all common names in football, but they all have something else in common, too. They all ran track. They are some of the fastest players in the game. If you could pick one athletic trait that separates Division I bound athletes from the average high school athlete, it is unquestionably speed. Speed is one of the most important skills for so many sports other than football, including soccer, field hockey, basketball, and hockey.

It’s no secret that the football program at Dexter has struggled in past years. Reasons for the lack of success are widely debated. But no matter what you think the program needs for success, one major skill that would help is speed. It puts the team at a disadvantage when they compete against teams like Chelsea, Saline, and Ypsilanti that have many of their skill players running track in the spring. The Dexter track team has lacked football players in recent years.

Former Dexter football defensive coordinator George Michos said if there is a good track coach, he would definitely want his skill players to run track.

“It teaches you the proper way to run and gets you fast. You can either pay somebody to coach you the proper way to run or you can just run track,” Michos said.

He believes the program will be more successful if more players run track because it will make the team faster overall.

There are always college recruiters at track and field invitational meets, but they are not only track recruiters. There are often college football recruiters and coaches talking to kids at meets in the spring. There are recruiters from a variety of sports watching kids that compete in track and field as a second sport.

If you only play one sport but want to be the best athlete you can be or have aspirations to continue a sport in college, the evidence suggests playing another sport too. If you can find a sport that complements one that you already play, your athletic performance can improve, and your risk of injury should decrease.

Athletes in the Crowd

A preview of a few spring athletes to watch as well as a look back at the distinguished career of a winter wrestler

By Caden Koenig

Darby Baird:

As a senior captain, Baird expects a solid season coming from the lady Dreadnaughts. “I see my team winning about 75 percent of our games if we take this season seriously,” Baird said. This is her fifth year playing lacrosse and she plans to continue on in college. “I plan on impacting the team by being a captain and making sure we keep our sportsmanship during our games whether or not they are hard or easy.”

Matthew Sinelli:

Entering his final season as a baseball player, senior Matt Sinelli will be an impact player for this upcoming season. Sinelli is a utility player, which is a big key to why he is such a valued player on the team this season. Last year, the baseball team won the SEC and was one of the top 10 teams in the state. Sinelli, being a part of this, is now able to step up as an experienced leader to help continue Dexter baseball’s consistently winning seasons. “We will all have to do our part, but there is no doubt that we can win the SEC again,” he said.

Continue reading “Athletes in the Crowd”

Athletes in the Crowd

An inside look into a few of the varsity athletes playing their sport this winter

By Caden Koenig

Tony Seidl

Starting possibly his last season of basketball that could end a career that started way back in second grade, senior Tony Seidl expects to be a leader on the boys varsity basketball team. “I’d like to impact my team by being a leader, being loud, and talking during the games,” Seidl said. “I am most excited for Chelsea week because it will be two good teams, and the rivalry makes it even more fun.” This year’s team is very experienced with multiple seniors and juniors returning with playing experience. This season’s expectations are to continue Dexter basketball’s winning tradition.

Drew Golin

Coming off a state championship last year, junior Drew Golin and the rest of the men’s swim team fully expect to be in contention for a state title once again. Despite being ill right before states last year, Golin still gained six points for the Dreads and wants to get more this year. “This year, I need to move up from that; I got sick last year so I expect to get more points,” he said. The swim team expects to have another long run that starts with a SEC title and ends with a repeat championship.

Brandon Wright

Brandon Wright is the leading scorer on this year’s hockey team, which currently sports a 2-5 record near the season’s midpoint. As the senior captain, Wright aims to get the underclassmen on the team more involved. “As the captain I try to create a better atmosphere for the younger kids,” he said. Finishing off a full 12-year career of hockey, Wright has multiple goals. “For the team, I expect to at least go .500 this year; a lot of teams are bigger and faster than us, so we have to be smarter. For myself, I need to step up in scoring and help spreading the puck,” he said.

Mckenna Graham

Head Coach Mike Bavineau and assistant coach Lauren Thompson have called upon some younger players to join the girls varsity basketball team this season. One of these underclassmen is sophomore Mckenna Graham. “I am most excited for the season because it will be a good experience to be on varsity,” Graham said. “And it will help us grow and develop for next year.”  Despite losing a heavy senior class, there is optimism for a solid season with the younger team.

Dexter Football Without Koenig

Goal of next coach will be to make Dexter football great

By Nick LeBlanc

Since Ken Koenig had more than 15 years of coaching experience, it was a surprise to many that, as head coach, he was unable to put together a winning season. In reality, Dexter has never consistently excelled at the sport.

According to Michigan-football.com, Dexter has only had eight seasons, dating back to 1950, where they only lost two or fewer games and were truly dominant.

The last time Dexter lost only two games was in 1989.  In comparison, Dexter’s rival, Chelsea, has had 17 of these dominant seasons.

Issues like instability in coaching staffs and lack of players on the team have all played a huge role in the lack of victories for the Dreads since 1989. The losing trend in Dexter carried over to Koenig’s reign and ultimately caused his resignation.

This may have been the true cause for the resignation; however, with outside pressure from the community, many feel as though community backlash due to the lack of winning seasons may have had an influence on the decision.

Athletics Director Mike Bavineau ensured that in no way would he let the thoughts of others influence that kind of decision.

“You can be super successful and you’ll still have people who will disagree with what you’re doing,” Bavineau said. “In that sense, I can’t say outside pressure was a factor in the process.”

Looking forward, the future of the program is still unknown since no head coach has been hired yet. What is known is that the job may no longer be held by someone working for Dexter Community Schools.

“We are open to anyone who wants to apply for the job,” Bavineau said. “We have already been contacted by multiple people and will begin the interview process once enough time has passed to give people time to apply.”

One thing Bavineau made clear is the new coach will have freedom to assemble his own coaching staff.

“Moving forward, we are going to allow the new head coach to bring in their own guys if they want because we don’t want to force the new coach into a situation where they don’t agree with the old coaching staff.”

Despite the questions and unknowns surrounding Dexter football, what is know is that whoever ends up becoming the new head coach of the varsity football team will have to try and provide something for the varsity program that no other coach has been able to do since 1989: wins.

“Throughout the seasons, I, and we, have learned to trust one another,” senior Seamus McCurren said. “The bond that Koenig helped create throughout the team is one I’ll never forget.”

Coach Koenig Resigns

After four years as the varsity football coach, Ken Koenig was asked to resign due to poor on-field results.

By Nick LeBlanc

Assistant Principal Ken Koenig was forced to resign after going 1-35 in four seasons as Head Coach of the Dexter varsity football team.

Superintendent Chris Timmis, Principal Kit Moran, and Athletics Director Mike Bavineau all were involved with the decision to have Koenig resign.

“We all have jobs to do,” Bavineau said. “We have to try to do what was in the best interest of the football program to help move it forward.”

While he is often only recognized as being the head coach, Koenig has been a part of the program since 2001.  When Koenig was introduced to the Dexter community, he immediately became involved with the football program.

After six years at East Detroit High School, Koenig started his career at Dexter as an assistant coach to the varsity program.  To earn experience within the program, Koenig would tend to his duties as the defensive coordinator for the East Detroit football team and then travel west an hour to help out the Dexter football team at practices or games.  Through his travels, Koenig began to learn the new program more and noticed some dysfunction that ultimately brought him to his assistant coaching job at Dexter in 2001.

“I saw a program that looked disorganized in my eyes,” Koenig said. “I said, ‘Listen, I think I can do something to help the program.’”

That disorganized Dexter team lost all nine of its games in 2000. Once Koenig arrived as assistant, the Dreads improved to 5-13 over the next two seasons.

Leading up to 2013, when Koenig became head coach, Dexter had had five different head coaches, four of which having held the position in the same year.  That’s when Koenig stepped up to the position after 12 years in the program.

“The kids in the program, in essentially18 months, had four different head coaches. All the changes in head coaches led to there being no head coach for Dexter in March of 2013, which means the program was way behind in offseason training,” Koenig said. “I contacted Superintendent Desmarais (Desmarais was an interim between Mary Marshall and current superintendent Chris Timmis) and essentially said, ‘I’m tired of watching our kids get stuck, and I wish to be the head coach.’”

Once Koenig was given the head coaching job in 2013, he had a few goals he wished to accomplish.

“I had a plan for the next five years, and the biggest part of it was to bring stability and financial freedom to the program,” Koenig said.

Out of these two goals, Koenig feels he was successful in accomplishing at least one of them over his four years in charge.

“Through the annual gold card sale, our golf outing, and our contract with the golf course neighboring The Big House (the Dexter football team helps clean up the mess left from tailgaters after every University of Michigan home football game), we raised a lot of money for all three levels of our football program,” Koenig said. “In [the financial] aspect, I believe we were successful.”

However, despite this success, the thought of being forced to resign weighed heavy on Koenig’s mind towards the end of his 16-year career.

“I mean, going 1-35, you can kind of expect [being asked to resign],” he said. “The thought is always in the back of your mind that this could be the last bus ride or that this could be the last time on the field.”

Timmis, when asked about the resignation, didn’t mention wins and losses.

“We were fortunate to have him leading our football program for the past four years,” Timmis said. “As a direct result of Ken Koenig’s leadership, DHS football has the foundation to complete the turnaround started by Coach Koenig and his staff.”

To an outsider, the record over four years may seem to purvey that the Dreads weren’t motivated; however, players said quite the opposite is true.

“Koenig and the rest of the coaches always helped us to never give up and always play our hardest every game,” senior Travon Reid said.

Other players shared similar experiences inside Koenig’s football program.

“He always encouraged us to push the intensity in our practices,” senior Seamus McCurren said. “No matter the status of our season we always tried to push the intensity for the next game.”

19th Straight

Dreads Swim and Dive records 19th consecutive conference championship and looks ahead to the D2 state meet

By Andy Dolen

Dexter women’s swim and dive took on the entire SEC in the conference meet on November 4 and 5 at Wylie Elementary School.

Dexter went into the meet with high expectations of continuing its streak of 19 consecutive conference championships and looked to qualify even more swimmers for the state meet.

Photographer - Claire Ward Freshman Zoe Michos lunges forward in the 100 breastroke, looking to pile on more points for the Dreads. She made the state cut in the event.
Photographer – Claire Ward
Freshman Zoe Michos lunges forward in the 100 breastroke, looking to pile on more points for the Dreads. She made the state cut in the event.

Dexter started off strong with multiple top finishes, winning many events and essentially dominating the meet. The divers continued this momentum through the diving competition of the meet with regional qualifications from all the divers.

Photographer - Andy Dolen Freshman Alyssa Frost takes her mark on the block waiting for the start from the official.
Photographer – Andy Dolen
Freshman Alyssa Frost takes her mark on the block waiting for the start from the official.

After the break for diving, the swimmers maintained dominance in the pool with more first place finishes including some pool records.

Freshman Zoe Michos, junior Madeline Kaufman and senior Danielle Westman all earned state times, adding on to the accomplishments for the Dreads on the weekend.

Dexter’s final score for the meet was 471, nearly 200 points ahead of Tecumseh, the second place team.

“…I thought it was one of our best performances,” Head Coach Cory Bergen said. “All four divers qualified for regionals, and all swimmers swam well after their taper.”

Bergen also revealed the team’s expectations for the state meet: “We expect to be contending for one of the top spots [in the state]… we are well prepared, and I think we will have a good performance.”

Athletes in the Crowd

A look back at some memorable fall athletes along with a pair of winter athletes to keep an eye on.

By Jed Howell

Travon Reid, Football

 Fan favorite and four-year Dexter football veteran, Travon Reid touched the field for the last time this fall. His cardboard cutout will no longer fly over the student section on Friday nights. Reid was a two-year starter on varsity both his junior and senior year, and he contributed to the team as an offensive and defensive lineman. Reid described his final game as “relieving” and “emotional.” He enjoyed his time playing football, but wishes there had been more players that came out each year.

Claire Ketzner, Cross Country

Inspired by her friend Dani Waidley, Claire Ketzner decided to run cross country. Ketzner quickly made her way onto varsity, crediting soccer for keeping her in shape and giving her a solid starting point for the cross country season. Eventually, she worked her way into the top spot on the team. At regionals, Ketzner was the lone qualifier for the state meet finishing 15th with an impressive time of19:15.6. At the state meet, Ketzner ran a 20:23.5, finishing151st out of 244 competitors. “It was fun, but it didn’t go quite as planned. I didn’t run as fast as I wanted to.”

Drew Bishop, Basketball

“I was super excited to be able to make an impact on our team.” Last season Drew Bishop was one of two underclassmen on the varsity basketball team. He received a generous amount of playing time, and will get even more time on the court this season. His goals include winning both the SEC title and districts. Bishop also hopes to win at least 15 games this winter. Look for Bishop to have an impressive second season on the court.

Sammi Corcoran, Basketball

 “Intimidated, yet honored.” As a lone freshman on varsity, Sammi Corcoran quickly found out that she had a lot to learn. She was joining a group of girls who were very close and very skilled, but this didn’t stop her. Corcoran credits her success in her sophomore season to the girls she played with her freshman year. She learned how to be more confident on the court and how to trust her teammates. In Corcoran’s third varsity season, she hopes to win the SEC title and defeat Chelsea.