November 08, 2016

Scenes from Elk Rapids, Michigan

My Alma Mater Is In The News 

I don't have any details. I haven't asked any questions. It's certainly interesting. I remember when the tide changed and the Elks finally made the playoffs. I'm sure there's a great amount to the story that no one knows right now, but when my hometown and alma mater is big time in the news, I take an interest. The school fired the popular football coach and now there's an outcry of support. It will be interesting to see how it all develops.

"This is a football town that has been locked up for a number of years," said Standerfer, a former quarterback for Elk Rapids who, by the way, played against Schindler. "Everyone is flying high around this town." (Record–Eagle article by Mark Urban, 2006) 

From Up North Live (video)

From the Record–Eagle (article)

From the Elk Rapids News: (setting the scene) Guest Editorial
This letter is written to express my concern and astonishment over the firing of Elk Rapids football coach, Ed Schindler.
The news came to me after catering the high school’s football banquet: Coach Schindler had been fired. No one knew it was coming or the reason why.
The handling of this matter by the Elk Rapids High School athletic department, school board, and superintendent is suspect to say the least. No one had heard that the coach’s job was in peril or that the athletic department was considering terminating Coach Schindler. And then to fire him the night before the football banquet was a heartless demonstration of any appreciation the athletic department might have had for a man who turned around Elk Rapids football.
What kind of board members, athletic director, and superintendent decide to change the direction of a program by blindsiding a coach who has built a program up over 10 years and was named “Coach of the Year” while at Elk Rapids.

“Ed is really the total package. He’s been the Associated Press Coach of the Year in Class C. He’s very community oriented. We were just very impressed by him. We have a list of 30 things we’d like in a football coach, and he is every one of those things.” This is a quote from Jim Standerfer that appeared in the Record-Eagle on January 12, 2006.

What happened? With whom do you replace a coach like that? 
The signs on the fences in the football stadium represent dollars from businesses going to the football program because Ed Schindler knew the program would need money to grow. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised for the athletic programs through fundraisers. Ed and Amy Schindler helped to coordinate the growth of high school sports. The conduct of the players as they enter the field and prep for the game is a reflection of the discipline Coach Schindler brought to a down trodden program.
The information given in the Elk Rapids News was that he was released so the program could go in a different direction. Qualifying for playoffs seven times in the last 11 seasons is the wrong direction? The whole thing smells. 
​I will be attending the school board meeting on November 7 to offer my support for Coach Schindler and protest his being let go as head football coach. Submitted by Joe Watt, Williamsburg

I wrote this back in '06, after the Elks made the playoffs for the first time:

Maroons manhandle Elks, 62-0

The Menominee Maroons pounded the Elk Rapids Elks today 62-0. It was Elk Rapids' first trip to the playoffs in school history. Back in the late '70s and early '80s (not to mention '89 and '90) when the Elks had solid teams, the playoffs either didn't exist or qualifying was too tough. When ER added soccer in the late '80s (maybe 1989?) the football program began to suffer. Perhaps it was lack of focus, direction, or vision. The team suffered throughout the '90s and well into the 2000s. However, after the 2005 campaign, the coach was fired and a new coach brought in.

Ed Schindler arrived as the new Elk Rapids coach. He played high school football at Frankfort under the legendary Tim Klein. Schindler told the Record-Eagle that he knew he wanted to be a coach when he left his former high school, Evart, and went to Frankfort. He said he went from being on a football team to being a part of a program. Prior to arriving at ER this season, he had success in turning around two other programs.

I consider the turnaround happening at ER similar to when Ben Steele arrived at Vestaburg in 1998 when I was the athletic director. Steele had success as a coach and came in and turned the "program" around. Previously, there hadn't really been a program. The Wolverines were playing football on a high school team. The first couple of years were filled with controversy (cutting the junior varsity team, changing some rules, enforcing rules and expectations, etc.) but in year three, the Wolverines made the playoffs. They lost to perennial power Fowler, 47-7 in 2000. They made the playoffs again in 2002, but lost. They annually make the playoffs; however, it was 2005 before they finally won a playoff game.

A solid coach who has a program, vision, and focus can really change things quickly.

Congrats to ER for finally making the playoffs. Heck, congrats for finally getting over .500! If history is any indication, with a new coach and buy-in, things will be continuing to move forward for you. Keep movin' the chains!

Mark Urban's Article:

Congrats to the Elks

- Article written by Mark Urban of the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

"This is a football town that has been locked up for a number of years," said Standerfer, a former quarterback for Elk Rapids who, by the way, played against Schindler. "Everyone is flying high around this town."

Elks take their time for first playoffs

TRAVERSE CITY — After waiting years for its first playoff appearance, what's another day ... another hour ... another time zone.

Elk Rapids (6-3), which earned its first postseason berth since the football playoffs began in 1975, will play at Menominee (9-0) on Saturday. The game will begin at 1 p.m. — Central Standard Time.

"That's how far we've got to go," Elk Rapids athletic director Jim Standerfer joked about playing out of the Eastern time zone. "But it doesn't matter where we go. We're tickled. I'm so excited for the kids and they're all pumped up. It's nice to see the program turned around and headed in the right direction."

The winning record under first-year coach Ed Schindler is the first for the Elks since they went 5-4 in 1996. Elk Rapids was undefeated in 1979 (7-0-1) and 1978 (8-0), but didn't make the postseason under the old — and more strict — playoff format.

Elk Rapids is one of three area teams that will wait until Saturday to open the playoffs. Each of the others will also feature area squads travelling across the Mackinaw Bridge to the Upper Peninsula.

Cheboygan (6-3) will play at Kingsford (7-2) in a Division 4 district semifinal set to begin at 3 p.m.

Mancelona, in the playoffs for the first time since 1977, will also play a time zone away for its Division 7 tilt. The Ironmen (6-3) will be at Norway (7-2) for a 2 p.m. kickoff.

The other eight playoff games involving area teams will be under the lights on Friday. All the Friday night games begin at 7 p.m.

At Thirlby Field in Traverse City, defending state champion St. Francis (8-1) will host Onekama (6-3) in Division 7.

In Division 1, Traverse City West (6-3) will put its six-game winning streak on the line at Holt (8-1).
There will be a Big North Conference rematch in Cadillac when the Vikings (6-3) host Petoskey (5-4) in Division 3. Petoskey beat Cadillac 6-0 in a five-overtime game played in the cold and snow two weeks ago.

Two games in Division 6 will pit Northwest Conference foes against Lake Michigan Conference teams. Suttons Bay (9-0) hosts Boyne City (6-3) while defending state champion Kingsley (7-2) will open at Charlevoix (8-1).
There will be three Division 8 games involving area teams, all in separate districts.
Onaway (5-4) travels to Ski Valley Conference champion Central Lake (9-0) in a repeat of Friday's match-up, a 32-15 triumph by the Trojans.

Hillman (6-3) plays at Gaylord St. Mary (8-1) in another Division 8 game on Friday night while Frankfort (5-4) takes to the road to play Marion (6-3).

By the time area teams take the field on Friday night, Elk Rapids will already be on its way to the southernmost tip of the Upper Peninsula. And the Elks will have a lot of support on their way out of Antrim County.

"This is a football town that has been locked up for a number of years," said Standerfer, a former quarterback for Elk Rapids who, by the way, played against Schindler. "Everyone is flying high around this town."

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