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Coaching moves: Grignon takes over at WL Western

By: Ben Rowden, June 27, 2018, 11:02 pm

Breaking down some of the new coaches on the state’s football and boys basketball landscape:


Alex Grignon (Walled Lake Western) – Grignon comes over from South Lyon where he was the offensive coordinator. He prepped at Dearborn in the 2000s and played in the secondary at the college level for Northern Michigan. As a top assistant for his dad Jamie, he turned around the program at Lincoln Park earlier this decade, helping the Railsplitters snap the state’s longest losing streak and qualify for the playoffs for only the third time in school history. Taking over for the departing Mike Zdebski, who left for a job in Arizona, the younger Grignon, 30, inherits a talent-stacked Western club, led by quarterback Sam Johnson (Boston College) and lineman Spencer Brown (Michigan State).

Brian Lewis (Plymouth) – Lewis, a former 3-sport star at Warren De La Salle, replaces Mike Sawchuk, who like Zdebski, has left the state to take a job in a warmer climate – Sawchuck is coaching in Florida.  In high school, Lewis, 29, quarterbacked De La Salle to the 2006 Division 2 state finals and started in the backcourt on a Pilots hoop squad that appeared in the final four. While enrolled at the University of Michigan, he was a student manager for the school’s football team.

Justin “J.J.” Reed (Salem) – Reed comes over from Sterling Heights Stevenson where he was the offensive coordinator and will look to energize a program that has a single playoff berth since 2009. He coached linebackers on De La Salle’s 2014 D2 state championship team, prepped himself at Jenison and played in college at Hope The 34-year old Reed is part of a fresh slate of sideline generals across the district, joining Lewis at Plymouth and Andy La Fata at Canton.


Steve Finamore (Lansing Sexton) – The former East Lansing coach and knowledgeable New York native got the nod at the not too long ago Class B power turned also-ran (hasn’t been over .500 in four years). Finamore led East Lansing to back-to-back unbeaten regular seasons (2016, 2017), but parted ways with the school after a heated post-game exchange with a parent and administrator at the tail end of the 2018 campaign. Sexton won state titles in 2011 and 2012 under Carlton Valentine.

Stefon Wilson (Hazel Park) – Wilson, the former Farmington Hills Harrison and Canadian college coach, grabs the reins on a squad making the transition from the OAA to the MAC. Hazel Park was one of the most dangerous clubs in the state last winter, however, their entire lineup graduated and Brandon Barrett, the architect of the Vikings’ ascent in recent years, left for the job at Detroit University Prep.