STEPHENSON — This week, the Stephenson Area Public Schools Board of Education voted 6–1 against bringing back long–time football coach Chad Brandt. And that decision has been met with strong criticism from the local community and across the Upper Peninsula.
Brandt has been the Eagles coach for the past 21 years, compiling a 137–73 record with three district titles in that time. Adam Menor is a former player and coach at Stephenson, and he says the decision came as a shock to many people in the community.
“I have received a number of messages from people that I graduate with, played football with, people that I’ve coached and then Coach Brandt went on to coach as they went from JV to varsity. Just the positive impact that Coach Brandt has had on their lives, and that same work ethic, that commitment to excellence, the competitive drive that has helped them be successful in their lives,” Menor said.
Many believe that this removal stems from a December 2016 incident that occurred in one of Brandt’s classes involving students that were boxing in class. After the video ended up on social media, the school board suspended Brandt for six months from all coaching activities, including track where he serves as the head coach. Brandt was also put on unpaid leave from teaching for ten days. Menor says that Brandt took responsibility for the incident and this latest decision just piles on to the punishment that was handed down.
“It sure feels that way from my viewpoint and some of the discussions that I have had. I know that the incident here and the issues that are being highlighted with Coach Brandt…there’s more to that. There’s more to what’s going on within the district. I think most people in the community are frustrated just with the lack of transparency and communication between all parties involved,” said Menor.
Brandt declined to comment on the situation and we have reached out to Board President Joe LaPointe for a comment on the decision. No word yet on when the search for a new head coach will begin.