Thirty-seven seasons, 254 wins. Former North Dickinson football coach Joe Reddinger kept a winning tradition in Felch.Reddinger retired in March, and brought in the second most wins by a coach in the Upper Peninsula, right behind Menomineeâ??s Ken Hofer.
Over the weekend, a retirement party was held at the Felch Community Center. The event was set up by his family to allow players, fans, and other coaches a chance to tell stories and enjoy a good meal.
Reddinger has a vast amount of accolades, including being a member of the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame and the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
â??I obviously didn't do it by myselfâ?|. without the players and the whole community being behind the program, it just doesn't happen,â?? Reddinger said.
He also earned a state coach of the year twice, plus eleven regional coach of the year honors.
Reddingerâ??s best team reached the Class D state finals in 1998 at the Pontiac Silverdome, before falling to Fowler.
However, Reddinger and many Nordic faithful are proud of their state record 23 straight playoff appearances. That's quite an accomplishment considering North Dickinson has been one of, if not the smallest schools in the state in terms of enrollment.
That is not bad considering he only had nine players at his first practice in 1977.â??Every team is different,â?? Reddinger said. â??Every team had its own personality, and every team had its own star. So on any given year the best player was the best player, so maybe I had 37 of the best players."
â??It wasn't that he was my coach, it was that I respected him so much,â?? Tim Hruska, former Nordics running back, said. â??In the fact that I respected him that much, I just wanted to always impress him for that reason because he's such a great man."
â??He's always there for you,â?? former Nordics quarterback Ken Pekarek said. â??He helped me out so much in life, always taught me to work hard, always in the weight room with us at six in the morning helping us, pushing us to get better. If someone was in the weight room, goofing off in the weight room, he was always on him, making sure they were working hard again."