2011 and Earlier / News

Lakers’ football coach Hollenbeck steps down

For the second time in his high school football coaching career, Glen Lake’s Bill Hollenbeck is hanging up the whistle.

Hollenbeck guided Glen Lake through some of the Lakers’ best seasons in high school football from 1983 to 2001, when he stepped down for the first time. In 2005, he returned as the Lakers’ head coach, in part to see if he could help guide Laker football back to prominence.

Hollenbeck announced the decision to his players and coaching staff on Monday, according to Glen Lake athletic director Paul Christiansen. He said he is putting together a committee to determine the process for replacing Hollenbeck.

“This will be tough because Bill has been good to us, a great coach who helped stabilize our football program,” Christiansen said.

During Hollenbeck’s 18-year reign from 1983-2001, the Lakers amassed a 144-51 record. Glen Lake was Northwest Conference champion five times during the stretch, including going undefeated in conference play in 1989, ‘95, ‘97, ‘99 and 2001. He coached the Lakers to a Class DD state title in 1994 with a 12-1 record, and guided them to an 11-2 season and a state runner up finish in 1996.

Since coming back in 2005, Glen Lake was 15-20 overall and 5-15 in the Northwest. He retires with an overall record of 159-71, a .691 winning percentage.

For Christiansen, while the numbers that Hollenbeck’s teams produced are noteworthy, the coach’s work ethic and dedication to players is what he’ll miss the most.

“When he came back, he really stabilized  the program. No one on the coaching staff worked harder than Bill,” Christiansen said.

While he has enjoyed being back on the sidelines during the last three years, Hollenbeck had been looking toward stepping down since last summer. “I started thinking about it again during training camp. I started evaluating things during the preseason and I feel now is good time to step down so someone can come in keep the program going,” he said yesterday.

His decision has nothing to do with the current team or staff. “This is strictly me wanting to spend more time with my family and doing things in the fall other than coaching football,” he said.

As an example, his son Tom is a senior at Northern Michigan University, working toward a degree in environmental conservation.

“I’ve already made plans to go hunting out west next fall and I want to do some bear hunting with Tom, too. It’s hard to do that when your coaching football, as that takes up all your time,” he said.

Hollenbeck and his wife, Cindy, are also anxiously awaiting the birth of their second grandchild from their daughter.

While ready to spend more time enjoying pursuits outside of football, Hollenbeck said it was not a decision he reached quickly.

“The staff I had, the coaches who worked with me are excellent. This is one of the greatest staffs I’ve ever worked with. They’ve been loyal, hard working, I can’t say enough good things about them,” he said.

Saying farewell to his staff was tough, but tougher still for Hollenbeck was bidding farewell to the players.

“These kids, they are all great, great athletes. They all gave 100 percent and did their best. We just have very tough competition in the Northwest Conference, always have and always will,” he said.

“I will miss everyone involved with Glen Lake football. The community is always so supportive in fundraising and being there for the program. The school, coaches, students, everyone. I’ll miss them all,” he said.

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