Long-time Westwood High School Head Football Coach Jim Marana resigned his post in November.
The Board of Education accepted the resignation in December and a search for a replacement began.
Coach Marana led the Patriots to the very first playoff win in the school\’s history in 2009 and will be missed. Marana will be replaced by Jon Beckman of Ishpeming Township.
Beckman has served as the Assistant Coach for the Patriots since 2001. Prior to that Beckman coached football in his hometown of Negaunee. Beckman currently teaches Physical Education at the Aspen Ridge School and serves as the Head Coach for the Westwood Track and Field program.
When Marana retired he left the Westwood team in good shape. Prior to appointing Beckman, a job profile was created that addressed what the district believed to be the current priorities for the program including building upon recent initiatives aimed at skill development and strength training year-round. Recent efforts to build the program also included the development of a 7th and 8th grade football program, the Junior Patriots.
During his interview, Beckman mapped out his vision for the Patriot Football program, citing that he has high expectations for the athletes in the program. Among his priorities will be to focus on consistency, toughness and competitive spirit. Beckman also emphasized his understanding of the importance of connecting with his athletes, their parents and the community.
Board member Chris Roose participated in the interview process. According to Roose, “Coach Beckman is a proven leader and he will continue to build upon a rising program. Jon is respected in our community and his football experience and skills are a great fit to lead our Patriot Football Program.”
Teaching in the district was not a requirement for the position, however, according to Superintendent Haynes, \”It is a significant advantage to appoint a quality candidate who also teaches in the district, works with our students on a daily basis and has an established relationship with the district, parents and the community.\”
Beckman is already at work preparing for the 2011 season and will be working immediately to fill other varsity and sub-varsity positions, tapping the strengths of the current staff as well as bringing in additional staff to fill open positions.
According to Board President Brett French, “The Board is elated to have Coach Beckman take over the helm of the Patriot’s football program. Jon brings a level of excitement, intensity and anticipation to our program!”
The Board of Education plans to recognize retiring coach Jim Marana for his years of service to the district in the weeks ahead.