Archive for Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Grossner to lead Baker football

January 28, 2004

By Jimmy Gillispie

Signal Sports Writer

The search for a new head football coach for Baker University is finally over, as it announced Mike Grossner as head coach of the Wildcats at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

"It was a good feeling to have a new head coach," junior quarterback Blake Pearson said. "We have a leader now. His first impression was real good. He has a plan, which is good."

Grossner gave a few words to the media, Baker faculty and other coaches Thursday.

"I just want to express my excitement to be a part of Baker University, and not necessarily a part of the football program, but the academic tradition that's here," Grossner said.

Grossner said he came to Baker with a plan, and that plan was simple.

"I am here to win a national championship," Grossner said. "We're going to win a national championship."

Grossner played professional football in Europe as a quarterback and was also an offensive coordinator. He was the offensive coordinator at Glendale Community College in Arizona from 1990 to 1995, and took them to bowl games and also won conference championships.

He won Arizona 4A State Coach of the Year in 1996 for the one-year he was head coach at Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Ariz. He then went on to win a national championship in 2000 as head coach of Glendale. He was previously the assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and academic advisor at Western State in Gunnison, Colo.

Pearson, Baker's quarterback, knows Grossner will bring a new style to the team than the one used by former head coach John Frangoulis, who resigned in November.

"He'll bring a different style," Pearson said. "He definitely brings a lot of energy to the team. Baker football will have a new style."

On Wednesday, Grossner met with many of the assistant coaches, players and faculty of Baker to establish a relationship.

When he had a talk with the team, he told them what he is all about and what his goals are for the team.

"The expectation level is real high," Pearson said. "We bring back a lot of kids. He said he is here for right now, which is good for us seniors."

During the press conference, Grossner answered questions regarding the team and what some expectations are for next season.

"I promise you will have a good product on the field and young men playing their guts out," Grossner said. "We are going to be a physical football team. We are going to be an aggressive football team."

He also said that sometimes records don't speak for the players that are playing for the team. He said his goal is to win a national championship, but he understands that may not happen right away.

"Our only goal is a national championship," Grossner said. "Can I say that's going to happen in the first year? No. But I can promise you we're going to work toward it."

Grossner knows that he is a little behind in recruiting, but said he will try to do what he can before the fall season starts.

"We're kind of behind the eight ball, but we're ok," Grossner said about recruiting. "I am excited to be here. We have a lot of work to do in a short time. But we're going to be ready in the fall."

Despite being behind in recruiting, Grossner knows where he must go to bring kids in to Baker.

"We need to hit the Kansas City area and, of course, the smaller schools in Kansas," Grossner said. "But get the tough guy in. I'm not going to turn down a great skill player either."

He also has ties in Arizona and the Jayhawk Community College Conference. Grossner also understands what needs to be done during the off season for the team to have success.

"A couple things we need to hammer in this off season are strength program, speed and agility," Grossner said. "If we don't sign another football player, I expect to win a championship with the group we have."

Grossner headed back home Thursday night to pack up and move, but he was going to bring some game film with him and examine it on the trip.

Grossner hasn't yet decided who his assistant coaches will be, but he said the ones that are here will have chance to stay at Baker.

"They're going to get the first opportunity," Grossner said. "I want to see what their goals are. Of course I've got some guys I'd love to bring if they could do it. A big part of being a head football coach is hiring good people under you and letting them coach."

He said he also wants to get a database of alumni and send out newsletters letting them know what this team is going to be about.

Grossner also expressed enthusiasm about the facilities that Baker has to offer, and about the ones that are in planning for the stadium.

"I think that's a great positive," Grossner said. "The weight room is awesome. It has everything we need. We'd love to have as many stadium improvements as we can, but it looked pretty good when I saw it."

Since Grossner was a quarterback and offensive coordinator, he understands what this team has to do in order to put points on the board.

"We are going to be a ball possession team and a field position team," Grossner said. "We're going to need to run the football, there's no doubt about it. We will do what it takes to move the football down the field. A big key to our offense will be play action."

Athletic Director Dan Harris was glad to see the search committee land someone like Grossner, because of the success he has already achieved.

"The work of the university search committee and our administration was instrumental in securing Mike Grossner as our new head football coach," Harris said. "Coach Grossner brings years of success to a Baker University football program that is eager to benefit from his leadership."

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