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2018-08-08 / Front Page

Newberry Varsity Football Gets New Blood, Old Hand at Coaching


Coach Joe Austin Coach Joe Austin Joe Austin, a 40- year veteran of high school football coaching, was persuaded by high school principal CliffFossitt to come out of retirement to coach this year’s Newberry Varsity football team. Sunday evening he made the acquaintance of some of the football athletes and their parents in a meet- andgreet format. He and his wife had planned for several trips this fall, as he’d thought he wouldn’t be coaching. One excursion was an Alaskan cruise, for which he’d already paid. Since the fees were non- refundable and he wants to stay married, coach Austin will miss a couple of games. Austin does have back- up with assistant coaches Bruce Dake and Joe Smithson, new coach Vince Leveille (and new TAS high school math teacher) on offense and Zack Clickner and Rudy Mendoza helming the JV team. “I came over and met these fine gentlemen and they said they were interested in me coming over here and being the leader of this program,” recalled coach Austin. “I was so impressed with the way they talked to me, and could see how much they loved this program. I could see how much Mr. Fossitt loved this program. I was moved… this was a program that I could help. “I’m kind of old school: run the football. Everybody likes to see the ball in the air. I like to see it in the end zone.” He also wants to see all the players learn more than one position. Coach Leveille played under Coach Austin many years ago. ”It’s always been on my bucket list to coach with Coach Austin,” Leveille said. “When I had this opportunity to come to Newberry, I was very excited.” Coach Leveille, the offensive coordinator, also has coached football for a number of years, spending time at Vassar for 11 years and Saginaw Valley for four years, as well as coaching duties for arena football and at Saginaw State.

“We’re basically going to do what we do best,” stated Leveille. “These next two weeks we’re going to figure out if we’re a really good T team, a really good spread team or good at both. Eventually we would love to be good at both… We’ve got some talent here. We’re coming in expecting to win.” There is a scrimmage set up with Charlevoix and Cheboygan Friday, August 17 starting at 3: 00 p. m. in Cheboygan. The first game of the season is scheduled for Friday, August 24 in Frankfort. “We’ve got three weeks to get ready for one of the toughest teams in the State,” said Austin. “I’m not going to predict that we’ll win all of our games this fall, but we’re going to go out, be prepared and be an aggressive football team.” Coach Austin would like to play everybody on the team, but there are no guarantees. “Playing time is earned. We’re going to put our best players in the field all the time.” There is an open date this fall on October 5, which the front office and coaches are trying to fill. The Indians also will travel this fall to Gaylord St. Mary’s, Boyne City and East Jordan. The first home game will take place August 31 against St. Ignace, followed by Harbor Springs the next week, Indian River Homecoming on September 28 and Jo/ Berg October 19.

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