2018-06-21 / Sports

Suttons Bay enters summer without football coach

Durkin resigns after leading Norse to 7-4 record in first 8-man season
by Grant McPherson
of the Enterprise staff

DAN DURKIN, who is pictured addressing his Suttons Bay football players following a game against Bear Lake last season, is moving on to teach at Lake Orion and coach at Notre Dame Prep. DAN DURKIN, who is pictured addressing his Suttons Bay football players following a game against Bear Lake last season, is moving on to teach at Lake Orion and coach at Notre Dame Prep. Suttons Bay Head Coach Dan Durkin is officially stepping down. Athletic Director Doug Periard said they will begin a search for the new head coach as soon as possible.

As well as coaching football, Durkin is also a social studies teacher at St. Mary, and JV head coach for boys basketball.

“We have been extremely blessed to have Dan as part of the school community,” St. Mary Athletic Director Teresa Szur said. “He was a big part of the school, both academically and as a coach. He is really going to be missed.”

Suttons Bay finished 7-4 in its first season of 8-man football. Last season, the team advanced to the regional title game in its inaugural season before falling to eventual Division 1 champion Central Lake.

“Over the last couple of weeks, I have been offered a job to teach at Lake Orion and coach the Notre Dame Prep football team,” Durkin said. “I grew up in the area, so it’s a better fit for me and a better opportunity.”

Durkin will leave the team during the summer, and Suttons Bay will look for their head coach. Periard praised Durkin’s work, and the impact he made on all the players he coached throughout his tenure.

“We hired Dan a year ago and he seemed like the perfect guy for the job,” Periard said. “He did a great job as head coach and we will miss him.”

Former senior captain Evan Rohrback talked about how coach Durkin impacted him. Rohrback played on the team for the years of 11-man, and the one year of 8-man.

“One of the biggest things I was taught was taking care of the little things,” Rohrback said. “I’d say Coach Durkin was one of my favorites here at Suttons Bay. He was younger, so I was able to relate to him more than any other coach.”

Rohrback said that people have asked him questions about the differences between 11-man and 8-man football. Rohrback said there really isn’t any big differences, and it’s just football.

Offensively, the Norsemen were a force to be reckoned with, as they averaged 36 points per game in their first year of 8-man.

“8-man and 11-man football are the same,” Rohrback said. “The only thing different would be is the field is a lot narrower.”

But coaching 8-man and playing 8-man are two very different things. Periard said that there was so much more that went into the concept of 8-man.

“Running an 8-man team is different than an 11-man team,” Periard said. “We have a lot of knowledge that Durkin gave us, and now we need a new person to take over for him.”

The Norsemen really blew out the expectations set by the community. Rohrback said it meant a lot to the team to have a strong season.

“I think we definitely exceeded expectations set by everyone outside of our team,” Rohrback said. “For us to come out and perform the way we did, it was a big deal for us.”

Rohrback wanted to make sure Durkin knew how much his coaching meant to him, and helped him become a better player.

“I want to thank coach Durkin for all the extra hours he put in to help our team grow,” Rohrback said. “I wish him the best wherever he goes.”

Coach Durkin would like to thank the Suttons Bay community. Without their support, he said the team couldn’t be where they were.

“I want to thank the community,” Durkin said. “It was a great time up here, and I want to thank everyone and all the parents. I’m going to miss everyone but looking forward to the opportunity back home.”

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