COACHING NEWS: Waterford welcomes new legend, says farewell to another, while naming his successor
WATERFORD – As one legendary head coach was replaced, another walked through the door in the city of Waterford this week.
It started with private school Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes naming Josh Sawicki its new head football coach, assuming the reins from Hall of Fame sideline general, Mike Boyd and ended with public school Waterford Kettering hiring highly-regarded bench baron Ben Kelso its new head boys basketball coach.
Sawicki, 26, is an alum of WOLL and a protégé of Boyd’s, serving as his defensive coordinator last season. When he played for Boyd in the early 2000s Sawicki was a three-time all-state pick, helping lead the Lakers to a state title in 2002. Lining up at running back and linebacker, he excelled at both positions. Once he recorded a school-record 26 tackles in a single game.
Playing in college at Valparaiso, he started his coaching career as an assistant on the west side of the state at Kalamazoo Central.
Boyd coached at WOLL for 46 years, turning the Lakers’ football program into a small-school state power. His 352 wins on the gridiron is third-most in MHSAA history.
Back in the fall in his final campaign at the helm, Boyd guided his squad to a 9-3 record and a district title, the 15th of his lengthy career. Retiring to Florida in November, he will be an assistant coach for a high school in Bradenton (Braden River).
The cupboard is far from empty for Sawicki. The Lakers’ offense has the chance to be particularly fearsome with all-league quarterback and third-year starter Sal Mastromateo returning under center and lineman Brandon Keen, a mammoth-sized Division I college-recruit anchoring the point of attack.
Switching over to hoops, the bringing in of Kelso to traditionally basement-dwelling Kettering is an unbelievable snag by district athletic director Rick Dorn, a true coup in this year’s annual local coaching carousel.
Kelso won three consecutive Class A state championships in the late 1980s (’87, ’88, ’89) at Detroit Cooley and has had other successful coaching-stints around the area at Southfield, Detroit Central and most recently at Detroit Mumford.
While at Southfield in the early 2000s, he was fired for allegedly misappropriating funds, but soon thereafter prevailed in a wrongful termination lawsuit and ordered re-hired.
During the 1970s, Kelso himself starred on the hardwood at Central Michigan and eventually played in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons. Besides logging decades coaching on the prep level since his own playing career concluded, he has also coached on the Division I college level with Eastern Michigan and Kansas State.