Wolverine honors Johnson, StangerPublished 10:50am Sunday, November 20, 2011
KALAMAZOO — Van Johnson and Mike Stanger of Dowagiac were honored as Wolverine Conference coaches of the year Wednesday night at the league’s annual banquet.
Johnson was named Coach of the Year in golf following the Chieftains’ first conference golf championship last spring. Stanger was named Coach of the Year for leading Dowagiac to a share of its first league football title just three weeks ago.
“It feels good,” Stanger said. “A lot of it has to do with the guys I coach with. They are a good group of guys. They have all worn the orange and black. We went through our staff and besides myself, Pat Lyle and Matt Alward, they are all Chieftains and that has a lot to do with our success. When you have guys who care and put in the time, that’s a big part of our success.
“We have good, tough kids. We’ve always had good kids. We were 8-1 and a couple of years so this year is a special year, but there have been other good years. It’s a good feeling and it’s obviously a reflection on the kids and the whole staff.”
“It starts off with, we had the kids,” Johnson said. “These are the kids who have been there since like seventh grade. It was just a matter of time until they got the experience of playing all these golf courses. About their sophomore year they really took off. Of course their senior year they were out of sight. There are a possible 100 points and we scored 99 of them.
“My being coach of the year is a reflection of what they did. I got them to the golf course on time most of the time and sometimes the wrong golf course, but we eventually got there. It’s all about the kids. If you don’t have the animals, you don’t have a zoo. It takes kids to make a coach a success.”
In all, 22 coaches were honored for their efforts during the winter, spring and fall sports seasons.
The Wolverine Conference also honored Jeff Borr of Comstock, Fred Burnett of Three Rivers and Marc Throop of Gull Lake with their Distingquished Service Award.
The banquet was held at the Fetzer Center on the campus of Western Michigan University.