By: Benjamin J. Gohs, News Editor
Colleagues will remember former Boyne City Ramblers varsity football coach Don Nohel for his dedication to helping build the character of his athletes.
After seven years coaching for Boyne City, the 30-year coaching veteran has resigned to focus on his health.
“I love the kids I coach, and pray that the lessons they have learned will remain with them and help them throughout their lives,” Nohel said.
While Nohel will likely continue to coach – he coaches wrestling, and has coached baseball and volleyball at times, he said he needs a break from the workload of the head coaching position.
Nohel, now in his 24th year as an educator, teaches woodworking, CAD (computer-aided drafting), drafting, weight training and physical education.
With 13 years of his three decades of coaching as a head coach, Nohel has developed a style which focuses heavily on developing the character of his players.
“Don spent a fair amount of time working on character skills and he had a program of once a week we focused on a piece of character and I think the kids will miss that opportunity to sit down and have it not just be about Xs and Os,” said Boyne City High School Assistant Varsity Coach David Bricker, who worked with Nohel for nearly 10 years. “We were not just coaching football but coaching young men to become better people, better husbands, better bosses, better fathers.”
He added, “One doesn’t really know what they’re going to miss.” “I don’t know how long he’ll stay out of coaching, but I wish him the best and hope our paths cross on the football sidelines again,” Bricker said.
Nohel said he enjoys coaching because it teaches life lessons, and he likes helping young men grow.
He said he has always felt the purpose of athletics was to help kids become better people and he also enjoys the relationships that he has developed with the kids.
Nohel’s favorite season?
“All seasons have been good ones,” he said. “You just win more in some than others.”
Nohel’s advice for the next coach: “Keep the kids first – we are here to serve the kids.”
Boyne City Public Schools Athletic Director Mike Wilson said while the school will miss Nohel, he understands that some things are more important than football.
“Don is a man of principles and morals just like I want to implement in my coaching staff here,” Wilson said.
Wilson has advertised the position for head coach and received several applications locally and from outside Michigan.
“We had a mixed bag of applicants, some as far away as South Carolina and Georgia,” he said. “I have assembled a panel to go through the resumes and I hope to have a decision and a head coach to offer the position to by Wednesday.”
Wilson said no matter who is selected, he expects Boyne City football to continue to be a positive program for the kids.
“We have a very talented group of kids coming up so I think the program, with the right leadership, will thrive and we’ll be successful,” Wilson said.
Bricker said he has not decided if he will continue coaching football for Boyne City.
“I just finished my 38th football season as a coach and a lot depends on who they hire as head coach,” he said. “If they would like me in the program and if their philosophy is something I can work with, I will probably be back next year.”