Monday, November 29, 2021
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Hansen steps down as Braves’ grid coach | News, Sports, Jobs


Hansen steps down as Braves’ grid coach | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy photo

Pictured is former Gladstone football coach Jeff Hansen.

GLADSTONE — After nearly two decades of coaching as an assistant and head coach at the varsity level, Gladstone Braves head football coach Jeff Hansen has made the decision to step down from the position.

The timing, he said, was right.

“For me, it was just the right time to do it,” Hansen commented. “Having done it for as long as I have, it’s been 18 years total coaching high school football and 15 of them at Gladstone and the last seven as the head varsity coach. I mean, that’s a pretty long time to do anything, really.”

In addition to his years at Gladstone, Jeff served as an assistant alongside his brother Jim — who was head coach — in Escanaba for three years.

The ride, he said, has been a good one and — after a successful year and other special factors — now was the best way to go out.

“It was really a heck of a ride. It was a good time,” he said. “To be able to close it out with my son’s (John Hansen) class and having a really positive, successful season with all the things we were trying to accomplish, everything just kind of felt right.

“I really believe in listening to your gut when you really feel it’s time to do something, and this definitely felt like the right time.”

In addition to the above, Hansen also feels comfortable stepping aside knowing there is groundwork laid for the Braves program to continue onward successfully.

“I think our program is in a really good place to transition to whoever my successor will be,” he said. “The program is good and stable and competitive. We have a high level of participation from our athletes in our school. The fundraising is really good. We’re highly competitive every single year. We’re constantly competing for the playoffs, and we’ve made the playoffs three out of the last five years. So, there’s a lot of program momentum that will make the next person who takes over successful. They’ll have good footing to stand on, which is really important to me. I want it to be a smooth transition to the next head coach. I want the trajectory of the program to continue upwards, and we’re in position to do that right now.”

Hansen noted the Braves 2017 conference championship win as one, of many, accomplishments he is proud of in his time as a coach.

“From a football-specific standpoint, I was very proud of the fact we were able to win a conference championship in 2017,” he said. “That’s a rare occurrence. It’s only been done a handful of times over 50 years.”

He added the victory over the Eskymos in Escanaba this season as well as building a playoff-contending team as two other bright spots.

Of course, through the years, Hansen has had the support of many people to help him get to this point.

“I’d like to thank my parents, my mom and my dad. Especially my father. He was my first football coach when I was in junior high, and I learned a lot of our family football values from him,” Hansen said. “I’d like to thank my brother because he gave me my first opportunity to coach up on the varsity level and learn how to be a successful varsity coach.

“Thank you to my wife for putting up with it and being so supportive for so long because it really is a family obligation. When you decide to enter into it, your whole family’s got to be on board, and mine was.”

In addition to family, Hansen also thanked the late Matt Houle for the opportunity to coach the Braves, his coaching staff and the entire Braves community for their support.

“I can leave with a smile on my face and a warm heart because I know the football program is in good standing. It’s going to be in good hands, and the trajectory is going to be straight up to what this program is and can be,” He said. “I’m a simple guy, and I know three simple things when it comes to Gladstone football. Gladstone football is good for our community. Gladstone football is good our school. Gladstone football is good for our kids. And that’s something I’m really proud of is it has a positive impact in the three areas it should have a positive impact.

“The only thing I really hope anybody ever says about me as a coach, over the entire time I’ve coached, is that I left the program better than I found it and provided kids a positive experience. If somebody can say those two things about me, that’s all that ever really mattered to me.”

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