By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

It was a busy spring for Orchard View High School athletic director Ken Overla.

That’s because he replaced three head coaches for the quickly approaching fall sports season.

Overla replaced a football coach, a boys varsity soccer coach and a cross country coach.

Overla tabbed Joe Tanis as the next head coach of the Cardinal football team, Kyle Skodack as the boys varsity soccer coach and Chris Zitka as the school’s cross country coach.

Tanis replaces Neil Sladick, who resigned after posting a one-year record of 1-8.

Kyle Skodack will assume the soccer coaching duties after Andy Carlson resigned following last season.

And Overla is stepping aside after nine years coaching cross country to make room for Zitka.

Skodack and Zitka are Orchard View graduates.

Tanis graduated from Grandville High School and formerly served as a coach at Napoleon High School.

“He (Tanis) is a very personable person,” Overla said. “He will have good rapport with the kids and they will know he’s there for them not just for football. He has a lot of energy. He’s young, this is his first head coaching job.

“I think we can compete,” Overla said. “It all depends on how many kids come out.”

Football practice begins Aug. 6.

Skodack enjoyed plenty of success on the soccer field. He earned all-state honors as a Cardinal player before moving on to play at Muskegon Community College.

“He loves soccer and we wanted that excitement,” Overla said. “He wants to bring the tradition back to OV.”

Zitka, a 2011 OV graduate, will actually be coaching a pair of his former teammates this fall.

“There are a couple of good leaders on the team right now,” Zitka said. “The numbers are short right now. We have a real young team, so we’re starting out with a slower pace. But we have to get them used to the workouts and get them to come back next year.”

For Overla, the hirings made for a busy spring.

“I got them all hired and they are all doing summer stuff,” Overla said. “I met with the kids and made sure the coaches could be there. We are seeing a lot of activity.”

Coming Tuesday: More on new OV head football coach Joe Tanis.