2017-08-24 / Sports

Glen Lake names new boys soccer coach

By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor

JARED BOYNTON JARED BOYNTON Peyton McDonough put his dedication to the Glen Lake soccer program on full display as a junior in 2016.

McDonough, a midfielder, suffered an ACL injury prior to the season but stayed on the sidelines as a player-coach for a team that finished 5-13.

Last week, however, McDonough may have wondered whether his 2016 efforts were all for naught.

Andy Smith, the Glen Lake girls soccer coach who was chosen last September to replace boys coach Jason Howes, tendered his resignation on Aug. 14 after accepting a full-time teaching position with Forest Area Community Schools. Smith had been a building substitute at Glen Lake.

With the start of the 2017 campaign just 10 days away, McDonough and the Lakers were without a coach.

“It was nerve-racking,” said McDonough, a three-sport athlete and the older brother of returning starter Brady McDonough. “We only had 13 or 14 kids try out for the team, so we were worried about numbers, then we found out we didn’t have a coach.

“We didn’t know if we were going to have a season.”

Smith and Jennifer Johnston, the Glen Lake athletic director, didn’t let that happen. Johnston followed up on Smith’s recommendation to bring in the former assistant girls soccer coach at Kingsley, Jared Boynton.

Johnston met with Boynton on Monday and, with just three days to spare, filled the coaching vacancy.

“I really appreciate the opportunity,” said Boynton, who said he spent about 15 seasons as an assistant in the North Storm, Traverse City Central and Kingsley programs. “I’m super excited about this season and I hope after it’s done they keep me around.”

The 34-year-old helped Kingsley coach Amanda Field guide the Lady Stags to a second-place finish in conference play last spring.

The Lady Stags nearly stunned visiting Glen Lake in the league opener on April 10, but an overtime tally from Karrigan LaCross lifted the Lady Lakers to a 3-2 win — their first of eight in as many conference contests.

It’s unclear who will step in for Smith as coach of the reigning conference champions next spring, although Boynton is presumably the frontrunner.

The other two varsity soccer programs on the peninsula, Leland and North Bay, employ the same coaches in the fall and spring — Joe Burda and Tom Spencer, respectively.

“As of right now, I’m still planning on going back there this spring,” Boynton said of Kingsley. “I have a connection with those girls and think they’ll be really good. If they offer it to me, it’s definitely something I’ll have to think about. ... but Glen Lake is our biggest rival — they’re the team we want to beat, and I want to beat them — but I guess at some point if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

Whomever replaces Smith will certainly have their work cut out for them.

The coach posted a five-year record of 60-31-6 with the Glen Lake girls and an impressive 39-3-2 mark in league play. He also led the Lady Lakers to a district title in that span while putting together a postseason record of 4-5.

Smith, whose wife is expecting twins in October, said his pursuit of a full-time teaching position at Glen Lake didn’t pan out the way he had hoped this summer. The three vacancies he applied for have been filled.

“It’s quite difficult to leave Glen Lake,” Smith said when asked about the girls program. “They’ve been part of me for the last seven years. I’ve had some great times with them and I wish the boys and girls all the best.”

Boynton, meanwhile, inherits a boys team with six returning starters. That number doesn’t include, McDonough, who started as a sophomore.

The new coach had only been to one practice as of Tuesday but was impressed with what he saw.

“They were all really receptive,” Boynton said. “They’re nice kids. They have good attitudes and are willing to work. They seem coachable.

“I just have to find the right 11.”

He won’t have much longer to find it, however, as the Lakers begin their season today at McBain NMC at 5 p.m.

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