In Play with Tom Markowski


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Stevenson coach juggles work and family responsibilities

By: Tom Markowski, September 15, 2014, 12:00 am

Sterling Heights – Part of the responsibility of a football coach is making sacrifices. Coaches sacrifice hours each day, away from their families, in preparation for the next game. Studying film, conversing with the staff and instructing players is replayed over and over again until it becomes habitual.
Some coaches just put in more time than others for a variety of reasons.

Kevin Frederick is one of those coaches. It’s just that this season has afforded Frederick with a few more challenges than he would prefer.

Frederick, 36, is in his first season as head coach at Sterling Heights Stevenson having spent the previous six as the head coach at Whittemore-Prescott. The Cardinals made the playoffs in each of those six seasons.

Frederick replaced Steve Goralski who resigned. Hired in late May, Frederick had little time to work with his players and less time to sell his house in Bay City. He still hasn’t sold the house, and that’s part of his dilemma.

Frederick is living in Rochester with his sister. His wife, Kari, is living in Bay City with their two children, Bo and Layla. This past weekend Frederick was able to make the trip north to be with his family. On Monday morning he is expected to be back teaching special education in the Utica school system.

Frederick is somewhat used to the long drive. Frederick drove 57 miles, one way, when he coached and taught at Whittemore-Prescott.

“My wife is a strong woman,” Frederick said. “She understands its football season. I’m sitting here (on Saturday) with the kids and she’s working.

“Getting back to my family is a big priority.”

Heading a program in one of the state’s top divisions (Macomb Area Conference Red Division) is a significant change. Frederick came from coaching at a school of approximately 300 students to one that has nearly 2,800. Well, so far so good. Stevenson (2-1) is 1-1 in the division after upsetting Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, 21-7, at Chippewa Valley on Friday.

Frederick brought the spread offense with him from the Bay City area and there have been some growing pains.

What has really helped him in his transition is Dave Cutlip, the defensive coordinator and a holdover from the previous staff. A former head coach (at Sterling Heights High), Cutlip is a no-nonsense type of coach who is regarded as one of the top defensive coordinators in Macomb County.

“We manage it together,” Frederick said. “You have to be able to trust one another and we’ve been able to do that. I’m fortunate to have a defensive coordinator like that.”
The spirit of the game

Mason lost a football game to DeWitt on Friday but winning isn’t always about which team scored the most points.

DeWitt led 25-3 late in the game when Jay Granger scored on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Brad Wilton to pull Mason to within 25-10. Granger is a special needs student and with the outcome no longer in doubt Granger caught the pass from Wilton and was escorted into the end zone by the other players on the field.

The essence of high school football is not about wins and losses, and sometimes we forget that. High school football is about, among other things, responsibility, leadership, friendships and memories.

Mason lost a football game but the memories Granger and his teammates made on that field that rainy evening will last longer than the numbers on the scoreboard.