HALE – While the question of whether or not the MHSAA fall sports season takes place or not remains in question, the question of who will be Hale’s new football coach has been answered. Grant Kortman, a 2018 Whittemore-Prescott graduate was announced as the Eagles’ new head man last week.
“It’s exciting, it’s a great opportunity and it’s a real honor to be a head football coach and I take great pride in it,” Kortman said. “I think we are going to run a really great program and I’m excited to get going and meet the players and hopefully have a season.”
Kortman, who played as a lineman for the Cardinals was also an assistant coach with the W-P JV football team last fall and has coached junior high basketball at W-P as well. While his playing career isn’t too far in the past, he readily admits that coaching has always been in his DNA.
“For as long as a I could remember, I always wanted to be a coach and especially a head football coach,” he said. “This is a great opportunity. Hale isn’t a program that is known for a lot of football success, but I feel I have an opportunity to come in and make an improvement. There’s a good staff in place and we feel we can get things going in the right direction.”
Kortman is the program’s seventh different head coach since the 2009 season and while the team’s lone playoff appearance came in 1999, the cupboard isn’t exactly bare. Since joining 8-man in 2015, the Eagles have had a pair of 5-4 seasons, including last fall when they were the first team left out of the playoffs.
“They were on the fringe of the post-season last year, but I think that the talent level is there and once we get things going we have a good chance to do that (make the playoffs),” Kortman said.
While he was hired just last week, Kortman isn’t too worried about getting a late start compared to other coaches.
“I was hired with just a few days notice, but there are no excuses, every team is going through struggles this off-season with everything that is going on,” he said, adding he was a quick study in the 8-man game. “I have talked with Chad Zeien (former AuGres head coach) about a lot of stuff and have been getting input from Chris and Doug Bernard (Hale assistant coaches). I feel my style of coaching can fit in pretty good with 8-man.”
Hale was scheduled to open its season at Big Rapids Crossroads on Aug. 28. That contest has been cancelled due to Crossroads not fielding a team this season. If the Eagles do not find a replacement in week one, they will open the season Sept. 3 at home against AuGres.
“Whether it’s the 28th against a team taking Crossroads’ place on the schedule or the second week against AuGres, we are going to be ready and hopefully start our season off well,” Kortman said.