Edwardsburg names Dan Purlee new head football coach

Published 1:05 pm Friday, March 31, 2023

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EDWARDSBURG — Edwardsburg Public Schools did not have to look far to find its next varsity head football coach.

The district announced its hiring of Dan Purlee as the new varsity head football coach Friday morning. 

Purlee spent nine years as the Rangers’ head coach, amassing a record of 70-22, including back-to-back undefeated seasons. Cassopolis qualified for the playoffs eight out of his nine seasons. The Rangers won four district championships and two regional titles — 2016 and 2018 — falling in the state semifinals to Detroit Loyola and Madison Heights Madison, respectively.

Under Purlee’s leadership, the Rangers won 19 consecutive regular season games from 2017 to 2019. In his final season as Cassopolis’ head coach, the Rangers went 10-1, with their only loss coming in the Division 8 district final to eventual state champion Reading.

The 2018 Cassopolis football team set a school record for victories when it went 12-1, which included a victory over Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central in the regional championship game.

Purlee replaces Bartz, who coached 28 years in Edwardsburg with a record of 216-78, which included 10 consecutive Wolverine Conference championships, 17 playoff appearances, nine district championships, eight regional championships, eight state semifinals and the 2018 Division 4 state title.

Purlee has been a member of the Edwardsburg coaching staff the past two seasons.

“The committee interviewed an outstanding group of coaches for the head coaching position. Based on the foundations and success our football program has experienced over the last decade, this was a very attractive position,” said Edwardsburg High School Principal, Ryan Markel. “The committee selected Coach Purlee based on his success as a head coach and his ability to develop players and create a championship program. Coach Purlee’s experience in our program the last two years has allowed him the ability to develop relationships with our current players and gain an understanding of our strengths and areas we can improve.”