There will be some changes this year in Oceana winter sports coaching, as Hesperia and Shelby each welcome two new head coaches.
The Shelby replacements will both be sliding into spots vacated by longtime and successful head coaches. Tiger legends Penny Grinage-Guy and Ed Felt elected to resign after last season in, respectively, cheer and wrestling. They will both be replaced by longtime understudies, Sarah Schaner on the cheer mat and Dustin Dean on the wrestling mat.
Grinage-Guy coached competitive cheer at Shelby for 21 years (and coached cheer for nearly 40 years overall), leading the program through its early days in the Coastal Conference into the West Michigan Conference, and to several trips to the state finals. The program’s top finish came in 2003, when Shelby took fifth place in the finals.
Schaner, entering her eighth season in coaching, will take on the responsibility of leading the next generation of Tiger cheerleaders.
“Having the opportunity to coach at the varsity level after Penny is an amazing one,” Schaner said. “I learned from her what it takes to truly be a Tiger and what it means to bleed purple. And I hope I can continue the legacy our cheer program has had.”
Schaner will take over a program that does not have a JV team this year. The Tigers have had a JV team most years recently, so not having one this winter will be an extra challenge for Schaner as she tries to lead Shelby back to the state finals after the program missed the DeltaPlex event the past two seasons.
“What they all have in common (is) the same amount of perseverance,” Schaner said of her freshman-through-senior team. “These girls have been so determined to learn new skills and meet new girls. That wouldn’t have happened without having a combined team. I’ve never seen our team morale so high.”
Felt also ended his coaching career after leading the program for over two decades. Felt’s top team accomplishment was guiding the Tigers to the Division 4 title match in 2012, and he coached a slew of successful individual champions, including his sons Dylan and Nick, who each compiled multiple all-state honors.
Dean, like Schaner, played for the coach he’s replacing, wrestling at Shelby and earning all-state twice before serving as an assistant coach at the school for the past decade. He too is excited for, and very aware of, the challenge he faces in replacing a very successful coach.
“It’s a great honor to take over for Ed Felt as the head coach,” Dean said. “Coach Felt worked very hard to maintain and build Shelby wrestling tradition....Coach Felt has inspired and coached young athletes for the last 22 years. It will be a bit of a change for me being the man in the chair.”
The Tigers’ program will have a familiar look with Dean in charge, as he plans to continue the tradition of success at Shelby. Some change is inevitable, of course, but Dean is excited for the opportunity.
“I am ready for this challenge and am thankful to Coach Felt and others in the program that have passed on their knowledge to me,” Dean said. “I look forward to continuing the tradition as well as building it with my own spin.”
Hesperia replaced both basketball coaches after last season, as Doug Bolles elected to cut back from coaching three sports to two, and Dennis Conkle also resigned from girls basketball. Coming in as replacements are Andrew Worcester as boys basketball coach and Vince Grodus, who will enter his third stint in the job, as girls basketball coach.
Worcester, who was briefly part of Hesperia’s team at the end of last season, enters the job as prepared as any first-time head coach could be, on account of his experience as a sergeant and medic in the U.S. Army. Worcester also played Division I basketball, at the Citadel. He’s originally from North Carolina.
“I do have a passion for coaching,” Worcester said. “It’s just a sport that draws me back. My military side, as far as training soldiers, bled right on over to this passion to lead, and also to develop young men to be respectful leaders within the community.
“It happened that this spot was open, and when I was told about this, it was an opportunity. It’s such a great opportunity. I couldn’t pass it up once I was told about it.”
Worcester helped out the team at a practice late last season prior to its district victory over White Cloud, which gave him a glimpse of some of the guys he will now be coaching. He said himself and the team were excited for him to be the coach.
“They were pretty excited when I found out I would be applying and ultimately getting the job,” Worcester said.
Grodus, who teaches at Hesperia and also coaches the golf team, is familiar with the Panthers’ squad, which will be very young after graduating most of its top players from last season. He said he’s pleased with what he’s seen in early practices.
“I am impressed with the positive attitude and work ethic of our team,” Grodus said.