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Katarina Rothhorn
Katarina Rothhorn
Features Writer

The first message I ever sent from my Northern Michigan University sanctioned email was to the editor-in-chief of the North Wind asking if there was any way I could join the staff. Classes hadn't even...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Ostrowsky builds a team of tradition

The team is back to the grind after finishing their first season with Chris Ostrowsky as the head coach.The men’s football team returns 53 athletes to kick off the 2013 football season.Wide receivers coach and recruiting organizer Marcus Knight said the team is ready to start the season after all the hard work they’ve been putting into practices.  AVfootball

 

“We’re very excited with the maturity we’ve shown from this year since last,” Knight said. “The kids are starting to get the philosophy of Coach O and we’re excited about the competition.”

The Wildcats ended the 2012 season with a 4-7 record, leaving the team near the bottom of the conference.

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Coaches and athletes alike said last season’s record does not show their potential for the season that is right around the corner.

“We feel great, we feel comfortable,” Ostrowsky said. “You couldn’t ask for more support, and the student athletes believe in the situation.”

Ostrowsky said the team finished the final five games of the season with three wins, and came within two plays of finishing 5-0 on the season. He said the athletes began to show improvement against some of the tougher teams in the conference in these games.

Grand Valley State, Saginaw Valley, Michigan Tech and Hillsdale all finished at the top of the North Division Standings with 7-3 season records. Out of these top four teams in the North Division Conference, the ’Cats beat both Grand Valley and Saginaw in the second half of the season.

The Wildcats first handed Grand Valley a loss, racking up a 38-10 victory for themselves in a home game Saturday, Oct. 13 last season, and then went on to defeat Saginaw Valley three weeks later, Saturday Nov. 3, with a 33-29 victory at Saginaw.

Ashland University, out of the GLIAC South Division, took the Conference title.

With such a roller coaster of a year, Ostrowsky said the team faced a lot of factors that made the transition into the 2012 season a bit different than most other seasons.

“For us, it was partially being a part of a program with a new head coach,” Ostrowsky said. “We’ve done a lot of changes since then, multiple changes.”

Ostrowsky said the team is working on changes in order to build on the improvement the men made at the end of last year’s season. Some of these changes include the addition of 34 new team members for the 2013 season, in addition to filling a few coaching positions with new faces this year.

Returning defensive backs coach, two-time All-American and two-time National Champion Joe Ballard is back to coach for the Wildcats in the new position as Defensive Coordinator. AVfootball2

The NMU defense ranked fourth in takeaways in the GLIAC last season, giving the athletes a challenge to build from. The Wildcat defense also finished with 13 of 22 turnovers produced being interceptions.The team took on further changes when they hired two new faces, including Karl Maslowski to head the linebackers and special teams units for the Wildcats and Dan Rowe, who takes over work for the ’Cats. Knight said they’ve recruited some new members who have worked hard. He also said the new athletes will be able to add to the depth of the team, and it’s the coaches’ jobs to help them with the transition.

“We’re really excited about the class we have coming in,” Knight said. “We have a lot of talented young men and it’s about staying with them and getting them acclimated to how college life works, and we’re here to help them.”

Brian Mitz fills out the coaching staff as the running backs coach and the video coordinator for the Wildcats.

Ostrowsky said for the upcoming season, he wants to see the NMU student body more involved at games.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how much we’ve changed the culture of our student body,” Ostrowsky said. “There’s nothing better than creating a culture in which football is really important to the students, and we need to put a product on the field that students want to see.”

With a solid group of guys returning to the field this season, Ostrowsky said he wants each one to focus on playing for one another.

“For us, (it’s about) creating an understanding that we are playing for one another,” Ostrowsky said. “It’s not my football program, or our player’s program. It’s all of our programs.”

The team returns to the field under the leadership of veteran senior captains Christian Jessie, Brandon Parson, Cody Scepaniak and Morgan Stenz.

Jessie was named a GLIAC first team selection.

Scepaniak and Stenz were named GLIAC honorable mentions, as well.

Ostrowsky said with the mix of returning players and incoming players, the team has the potential to develop a love for football on the NMU campus.

“When football is successful it adds to the love of the game,” Ostrowsky said. “We need to create that atmosphere, and then we can become a phenomenal football school.”

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