Jeff Duvendeck ready to lead Lawrence Tech Football Program
Southfield – For Jeff Duvendeck, the timing was perfect.
After he and his wife Breanne learned they were expecting their second child they – like most families – began considering moving back closer to home and family.
Duvendeck, who spent each of the past six seasons coaching at Culver-Stockton College in Missouri, began looking for coaching opportunities in his wife’s home state of Wisconsin and his home state of Michigan.
Not long after, Duvendeck found out that after 70 years, Lawrence Tech University would be bringing its football program back beginning in the fall of 2018 and applied for the job. On Monday, the University announced that the football program would officially be coming back and named Duvendeck as the head coach.
Duvendeck said the position was immediately appealing to him, not only because it was back in his home state of Michigan, but it was and is an opportunity to build a program of his own, something he had envisioned doing throughout his career.
“I’ve always wanted to build things, so this is the ultimate challenge, I get to build it from scratch” he said. “Each school that I was at, you take bits and pieces, make notes to yourself in case you do get this opportunity at some point. From the ways that coaches would interact with their staff, with their athletic trainers and their players, the way they set up their recruiting process, the way practice was set up. Those are all things that I’ve taken from different coaches and mixed to make my own creation that is going to be the way we’ll handle things here.”
Duvendeck was a running back at Flushing high school and walked on at Central Michigan, began his coaching career as a student assistant for the Chippewas.
After stops with Tiffin University, Grand Valley State, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan and Michigan State as an assistant, Duvendeck landed his first head coaching job with Culver-Stockton College in Missouri in 2011 and guided the Wildcats to their first winning season in 15 years during the 2014 season.
Duvendeck said that location played a key role in pursuing the Lawrence Tech position and being able to come home to his home state was simply something that he couldn’t say no to.
“In this profession, it’s hard to pick where you want to go,” he said. “Not often do you get to say you want to be in southeast Michigan and that works out, usually, if you say that, you end up in Arizona. So to have the opportunity to be where my wife and I both wanted to be was a big part of this.”
With the football program at Lawrence Tech ready to begin play in the fall of 2018 and to begin competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in the fall of 2019, Duvendeck has already hit the ground running, hitting the recruiting trail as he tries to fill his 2017 recruiting class.
While the opportunity to take over the Blue Devils program presents a number of challenges, Duvendeck embraces those and has presented the chance to take on those challenges to potential recruits.
“As a competitor and an athlete, I want a daunting task,” he said. “I don’t want things to be easy and that’s something that I’m presenting to my recruits. I want guys that are up for the challenge and I’ve been up front with them and told them that this isn’t going to be easy, we need to build it from the ground up. Is it going to be great? Yes, it’s going to be great. But will it be easy? No. We need to work from day one to make it great.”
While the Blue Devils won’t hit the football field for another year and a half, Duvendeck already knows what he wants his team’s identity to be on offense and defense.
“Offense, we’re going to be a multiple formation, multiple set, we’ll use different tempos, but we’re going to be pro-style,” he said. “Ideally, we’re going to be an even 50-50 pass-run team, but everything’s going to be set up with respect for the run. Defensively, we’re going to be attack 4-3, we’re going to be aggressive as a team, but we’re going to keep it simple and allow our guys to play with speed.”