By Mark Lewis
Local Sports Journal

MUSKEGON – After 25 years, the Muskegon Catholic Central football program has a new head coach.

Steve Czerwon, left, is taking over the reins of the Muskegon Catholic football team from veteran coach Mike Holmes, right. Photo/Tim Reilly

Steve Czerwon, a nine-year assistant coach at Catholic will take over for the area dean of coaches, Mike Holmes, in 2013. In his 25 years of coaching, Holmes helped the Crusaders win more than 200 games and five state titles.

Czerwon, who teaches Social Studies at Catholic, also is the school’s head track and field coach, winning four-straight regional titles and finished as Class D state runners-up in 2011.

“I was very lucky to get the opportunity to coach under Coach Holmes,” said Czerwon, who learned he’d been selected as head coach just hours before. “I’m confident we can continue the tradition MCC started 42 years ago under (Roger) Chiaverini.”

Czerwon, who started at quarterback for three years at Catholic, graduated from the school in 1995, moving on to play four years at Saginaw Valley State University, under current University of Minnesota Coach Jerry Kill.

After graduating from SVSU, Czerwon was an assistant coach at Ravenna, which won a Div. 6 state title in 2003 while Czerwon was on staff.

On the field, Czerwon said not much will change. The squad will still use multiple formations, personnel groupings and schemes that will take advantage of the talents of each class.

On defense, the program will continue its base 4-4 scheme.

Czerwon’s staff will provide a nice bridge from one regime to another. Returning will be longtime coaches Mike Ribecky, Scott Fodrocy and Chris Martinez.

“They are one of the reasons I took the job,” said Czerwon. “I knew the quality of staff I would have backing me up.” He added, the program is looking for perhaps one more coach to fill out the staff. “If it’s the right fit, I wouldn’t hesitate adding another coach.”

One challenge Czerwon’s team will continue to face in the coming years is trying to fill out the entire nine-game schedule.

“It’s something we’ve had to deal with for a long time around here,” said Czerwon. “We hope to have the kind of nine-game schedule that will allow us to play in Week 10. Not being in a conference, we’re working for the playoffs every year. That is not something we expect to change.”

Another challenge will be fielding a team large enough to compete with the typical Catholic opponent. Often times in the regular season, the Crusaders have to play up to schools in higher divisions.

“The school has a plan in place to keep enrollement going up,” said Czerwon, “and it’s done a good job of maintaining the student population we already have.”

Nevertheless, Czerwon said the program has always done, and will continue to do, what it can to make sure his kids’ talents are fully utilized.

“Because we have a system that has so many different looks and options,” he said, “we already do a good job of taking advantage of the talent we already have. We’ll adjust our scheme to fit the kids we have.”

For Czerwon, his selection of head coach of his alma mater is an opportunity of a life time.

“Making sure the kids at the school, the kids on the team, find success both on and off the field, means the world to me,” he said. “I have every intention of maintaining and continuing the legacy of tradition and excellent at MCC. The plan is in place and it’s our job to execute that plan. I am really looking forward to doing that.”