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DULLACK COLUMN: Brother Rice made the right call turning things over to Sofran

By: Jeff Dullack, January 27, 2014, 9:00 am
The name Dave Sofran isn’t a flashy one.
It’s not one that comes with a decorated past as a head coach, nor is it one that was the biggest name on the list of applicants to be Al Fracassa’s successor.
What the name Dave Sofran was, was the obvious one. Not to mention, the correct one.
The expansive Birmingham Brother Rice coaching search extended throughout the Midwest as the Warriors fielded applications from all over the region, including coaches that had head coaching experience and found success in prior locales.
But what many of those coaches didn’t offer to next year’s Brother Rice team and the foreseeable future for that matter, was continuity.
The Warriors have won three consecutive Division 2 state championships and have a legitimate chance to win a fourth straight next fall with a number of key contributors returning, including star quarterback Alex Malzone, who has played in the offensive system Sofran has called throughout his high school career.
Another reason why Sofran was the right choice is a simple one, Fracassa made it well-known that he felt his young protege should be the coach to take over for him when he stepped down. And honestly, Fracassa, the all-time winningest coach in Michigan high school history, with 430 victories, had every right to choose the person that would take over the Brother Rice program.
While that isn’t exactly how it worked out and the legendary head coach who roamed the sidelines at Brother Rice for 45 years didn’t get to name the Warriors’ next head coach, there is no doubt that Fracassa’s input was taken under consideration with due weight during the selection process.
His opinion was one that wouldn’t go ignored. It was rightfully heeded.
The other logical name that could have offered the same kind of stability to carry over from 2013 into 2014 was defensive coordinator Adam Korzeniewski.
Korzeniewski was the architect of some of the most dominant defenses in the state in recent years, pumping out several Division I athletes and gaining a reputation as one of the top up-and-coming tacticians in the profession. He was rumored to be in the final five candidates for the job, along with Chippewa Valley head coach and Brother Rice Alum, Scott Merchant, Mike Lodish (local businessman) and Steve Morrison (Eastern Michigan assistant coach), a pair of Brother Rice alum, who also both played in the NFL.
Merchant was rumored to be the favorite to land the job since it was announced that the 2013 season would be Fracassa’s final season, considering his ties to the Brother Rice program as well as his head coaching experience. Lodish and Morrison would have both been exciting hires for the Warriors as well, considering their history of playing with winners in college (UCLA and Michigan respectively) and in the NFL, along with the fact that they were two of the all-time best football players in Brother Rice history.
There were other names that were rumored to be tied to or to have interest in the job, such as Rochester Adams head coach Tony Patritto, one of the most respected coaches in the state of Michigan. Patritto would have an exciting hire in its own right, but according to reports, he never applied for the vacancy despite the speculation.
In the end though this hiring wasn’t about the most exciting, flashy or big name coach or one that has been associated with professional football in the past. It was a hiring about who could keep the stability, consistency and uphold the tradition that the Warriors had for 45 glorious years under Fracassa.
And that is exactly what the Warriors are getting with Sofran as their next head coach.