MENOMINEE, Mich. (WJMN) – Gladstone native, Chad Brandt, has always had a competitive nature.
“Played for John Meleski at Gladstone and I graduated in 91′, said Brandt. “I had great kids that I grew up with playing sports over 300 days a year we were doing something whether it was Wiffle Ball, Kick-the-Can, playing football something we were doing competitive around town.”
Another passion he carried was for education. After graduating from Western Michigan University in the Fall of 1996, Brandt made his way back north to take over as the head football coach at Stephenson.
“Coming out as a college graduate in the early ’20’s taking over a high school program, I had some good kids and started with a successful season,” said Brandt. “We went 8-1 so my confidence grew that way.”
For 20 years Brandt held that position while teaching third grade. During that span, he also spent time as a physical education teacher and athletic director at Stephenson High School.
“The people that I worked with in Stephenson, the kids that I had I was always very thankful for because they gave me great effort. Coaching is easy when you have kids that are willing to give great effort. So, I was blessed to have that opportunity for 20 years I never questioned the kids that rolled out on the field or on the track. I worked with some great coaches there as well. Just being able to spend that time with those kids and the coaches was really a blessing in my time.”
In 2017 Brandt was ready for a new chapter. He made the short trip east to Menominee for a new opportunity.
“I had an opportunity to start coaching right away,” said Brandt. “It just so happened that third grade opened up as well. My wife teaches down there, my kids go to school there as well. It’s been a great transition.”
Brandt has spent the last four years as an assistant varsity coach, most recently under head coach Joe Noha. Noha stepped down from the program after the conclusion of last season to spend more time with his family.
“Family time you can’t put a value on that it’s the best thing there is,” said Brandt. “We always think of that and coaches oftentimes spend a lot of time away, so I’m happy for his opportunity to get more time with his family. My family, with where we are right now, my kids are in sports here and I’m with them as we’re going through it.”
With Noha’s departure, Brandt has now been promoted to head coach marking the beginning of a new era for Maroons Football.
“Chad has been a valuable piece in our program for the past few years,” said Sam Larson, the athletic director at Menominee High School. “He’s a great football mind and has the respect of the players in our program. We are excited for Chad to continue the strong tradition of Menominee football.”
“Very exciting, obviously there is a lot of tradition at Menominee,” said Brandt. “Some of the coaches are coming back, the kids that we work with are passionate about football, the community, the town is passionate about football. I’ll always put enough pressure on myself, but just me having the opportunity to work with these student-athletes and do it for the town of Menominee is going to be great.”
Brandt takes over a team that went 5-5 last season while earning a share of the Great Northern Conference title. Brandt says he hopes to bring his own twist to what is already in place.
“The team comes first and we’ll stress teamwork in everything that we do. You should always have your own personality and characteristics that way. So, the same brand of football that people have come to expect from Menominee as far as kids playing hard and flying around on the football field I don’t think that’ll be any different. But if you’re not seeing two tight ends and a single wing on every play, that might be a little different but there will still be some single wing in Menominee Football. It may just not be quite at the same percentage.”
With decades of coaching experience, a love for the game, and strong ties to the program, the hiring of Brandt from the outside looking in seems like the perfect fit.