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Walled Lake Western has football coaching vacancy again, after Alex Grignon leaves to coach at Michigan Tech

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY , June 16, 2020, 11:03 am

Alex Grignon is headed back to the Upper Peninsula, leaving Walled Lake Western looking for a new coach for the second time in three offseasons.

After two successful campaigns as the head football coach at Western, Grignon submitted his resignation Monday, leaving for an opportunity to coach tight ends at Division II Michigan Tech. 

Grignon played safety at Northern Michigan University from 2005-09 after an all-star high school career at Dearborn. His wife, Vanessa, ran track for the Wildcats, while her father, Bernie Anderson, was the NMU football coach from 2006-11, after 19 seasons at Michigan Tech. 

“The opportunity arose quick. … I didn’t want to see it go by and not take advantage of pursuing that goal. For me to consider leaving Western, it had to be for the right situation and this was it. The connections to the school and the town are very natural. I think it’s a great place to start the next phase of my career,” Grignon told STATE CHAMPS! Network’s Scott Burnstein. 

“It was a great experience all the way around, I loved the job, I loved the kids, I loved the program and its high standards. We could play with anybody in the state last year. We put the time in and we played with confidence and swagger. I couldn’t have asked those guys to play any harder. They left it all on the field for me. I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish.” 

Grignon was hired at Western in June 2018, coming over from fellow Lakes Valley Conference member South Lyon, where he was the offensive coordinator. He replaced Hall of Fame Western coach Mike Zdebski, who’d left Walled Lake to take a job in Arizona. 

Grignon led the Warriors to a 19-6 record over two seasons, including an 11-2 mark last year, as they averaged 41 points per game en route to an appearance in the D2 semifinals, where they lost 57-56 to eventual champion Muskegon Mona Shores. 

Piloted by one of the top quarterbacks in the 2021 class, Zach Trainor, the Western offense should be nearly as prolific this fall. Trainor’s backup is Drew Viotto, one of the top-ranked signal-callers in the 2023 class. 

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Giannone officially on duty in Anchor Bay

It’s now official that four-time state champion Mike Giannone will be back on the sidelines this fall with Anchor Bay football, confirming what had been first reported in late May. 

Giannone announced the new job on Twitter over the weekend.  

Out of a job since he was fired as part of the fallout from the hazing scandal that caused Warren De La Salle to forfeit its playoff spot last fall, Giannone will replace Mike Powell, who stepped down in January after six seasons. 

Giannone went 33-14 with the Pilots, winning titles in 2017 and 2018, after going 158-51 in 18 seasons at Macomb Dakota, with titles in 2006 and 2007.

(Scott M. Burnstein contributed to this report)