Walled Lake Western will be on the hunt for a new head football coach for the second time in two years this summer.
Alex Grignon, one of the state’s bright young minds on the prep football sidelines, stunned the local high school gridiron scene Monday by announcing his resignation to accept an assistant coaching gig in the DII college ranks as TE coach for Michigan Tech. Grignon, 33, arrived at Western almost exactly two years ago this week, in June 2018, replacing the long-tenured and highly-successful Mike Zdebski, who had left that spring for a job in Arizona.
Stepping into some pretty big shoes that fall, Grignon, in his first year as a head coach, didn’t disappoint. He went a combined 19-6 in two years, winning two district titles and taking a trip into the Division 2 final four in 2019 where his high-octane Warriors lost in an instant classic, 57-56, to eventual state champion Muskegon Mona Shores.
“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,” Grignon said. “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 harbors aspirations of being a college head coach or coordinator one day, so the chance to take a job in a familiar place was too tempting to pass up – he played his college ball in the secondary at Northern Michigan and his wife Vanessa was raised in Houghton, her dad, Bernie Anderson the winningest coach in Michigan Tech history (not to mention, Grignon’s coach at NMU).
“The opportunity arose quick…I didn’t want to see it go by and not take advantage of pursuing that goal,” he said. “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 will coach tight ends at Michigan Tech. The Huskies went 5-5 last season under third-year head coach Steve Olson.
Western had the No. 1 offense in the area in 2019 and shouldn’t miss much of a beat in the transition from Grignon to whoever succeeds him in the job – at least offensively –, since the Warriors have two Division I-bound quarterbacks in the mix ready to head the ship into the future. All-state senior Zach Trainor, Oakland County’s top passer in 2019, returns for another year and sophomore Drew Viotto already has offers.