Assistant coach becomes new head coach for Grayling High School football program
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The varsity football program at Grayling High School has a new coach. Eric Tunney, an assistant coach with the program for several years, is the new man in charge following the retirement of Coach Tim Sanchez.
Sanchez, assistant principal at Grayling High School, recently left the coaching ranks because he will be changing jobs, moving to the middle school in Grayling to become the new principal. Sanchez said it was a difficult decision, but he’s confident Tunney will continue the program’s success.
“That obviously helped with the decision, knowing the program is in more than good hands with Eric. He’s special. The kids love him and respect him. He was key in bringing in the no-huddle spread. He was a huge part of that,” Sanchez said.
Tunney played football at Central Michigan University. He was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach last year for the Vikings. Tunney teaches physical education at GHS.
“I am extremely thrilled and humbled to be the head coach. I would be lying if I said that I have always dreamed of becoming a head coach. I knew that it was certainly a possibility at some point in the future but was definitely surprised when I first heard from Coach Sanchez. I have been fortunate to be around a lot of great coaches throughout my football career both as a player and as a coach. I’ve tried to take bits and pieces from all of them and will try to apply them as I see fit. Coach (Ben) Brock and Sanchez set a great foundation when they took over in Grayling and we are going to work hard to make sure that we do everything in our power to continue to take this program in the right direction,” Coach Tunney said.
(Brock was the head coach prior to Sanchez said.)
The coaching staff will be almost the same as last year, providing the program with continuity during the transition.
“Assistant coaches are in place. The staff will be the same as last year with the addition of Jimmy Osga. Jimmy is a great asset to add, especially on the offensive side of the ball. He was an all-state QB who has the experience and is a great teacher on and off the field. I am thrilled to be able to work with the same group of guys. They all love the game of football and more importantly love developing and working with young men. Losing Coach Sanchez will be a huge void on and off the field but I know these guys will give their best effort to try and not skip a beat,” Coach Tunney said.
Coach Tunney said he wants his program to stress the importance of teamwork and having a process to work toward greatness.
“Football has taught me a lot as a player and a coach. It is the ultimate team game; therefore, teamwork and camaraderie are essential to a successful program. Hard work, toughness, grit, are all things that can get lost in this Sportscenter society that we seem to have. It’s easy to see highlights and championships being won right at our fingertips but what’s often lacking is seeing the process of how these athletes got to the point they’re at. Antonio Brown doesn’t just become one of the best receivers in the NFL because he’s lucky; Steph Curry doesn’t just show up on game day and become one of the greatest shooters of all time. The kids don’t necessarily see that process so trying to get them to realize this is a great challenge and getting them to just realize their own potential is something special,” Coach Tunney said.
“I want high character kids who work hard, love the game, love the process, play for each other, and are good students. I want to give these kids the skills to become successful far beyond their football careers. High school football is a special time in a person’s life but it’s so short in the grand scheme of things, which is partly why it’s so special. I lost count of how many times former players have came up to me and said ‘I wish I could just put the pads on one more time.’ It gives me the chills and it’s a challenge to get kids to realize it while they’re going through it,” Coach Tunney said.
“To me, one of the greatest parts of coaching has been seeing the development and changes of young men. Whether it’s seeing a scrawny freshman work hard in the weight room for three years and graduating as a stud, or seeing a kid graduate from college and getting a ‘big boy’ job, or going to their wedding. It’s great to see and truly makes the job of a coach/teacher rewarding,” Coach Tunney said.