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Utica Ford hires football coach, looks to improve status in MAC

Football   | Joe Cochran

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Sterling Heights - Utica Ford has a new football coach and staff.

Todd Koehn takes over the Ford program and has assembled an experienced staff.  Koehn had a two-year stint as head coach at New Haven. He also has been an assistant coach the last nine seasons at Utica, Ford and, most recently, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek.

Former Utica head coach Tony Smith and former Center Line head coach Brett Davis will team to run the offense. Jay Anthes will coach the quarterbacks.

Jason Byers, a former head coach at Warren Fitzgerald, New Baltimore Anchor Bay and New Haven, will be the defensive coordinator.

Conditioning coach Shaun Tahrebandi comes over from Warren Mott.

"Having Shaun here is a plus and he has the kids pumped up". Koehn said.  "We have put over $40,000 into the weight room and have had as many as 85 varsity players working out.”

Ford, with over 2,000 students, is one of the largest schools in the Macomb Area Conference. A member of the White Division, Ford have five starters returning on offense and defense. The Falcons are expected to compete for the division title.

“We have some really good players coming back,” Koehn said. “But we are young team with a lot of juniors.

"We had media day on January 27 and it was a huge success. It was unbelievable. We heard from alumni greats like former Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel, NFL players Chris and Nick McDonald.” 

Nick McDonald was a member of the Green Bay Packers Super Bowl championship team in 2010. 

“Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio left a telephone voicemail that inspired the players," Koehn said.

The team will also have a new logo.

"We are going old school with maroon and gold and get back to where Ford football use to be,” Koehn said. “That is a promise. In the 80's and 90's when Butch Wagner coached the Falcons they had consistency. We are going back to those days.”

The goal for Ford is not just to make the playoffs, which they did at last season at 5-4, but to win a division, get home field advantage in the playoffs and, in two years, move up to the Red Division.

The biggest message that was delivered on media day to a crowd of over 600 was beat (Sterling Heights) Stevenson despite the fact that Stevenson is not on Ford’s schedule this fall. Stevenson and Ford are in the Utica school system and they share the same field.

"We want to and will be the best (program) in the Utica school district,” Koehn said. “And that means by reaching our goal of getting home field advantage and hopefully get Stevenson in the postseason.

“We share Runkel Field (on Stevenson’s campus) with the Titans and we plan on being the top team playing on that field."