The Sailors' Log
1994 alumnus takes over football programWednesday, March 30, 2011 By Taylor Jones
After 17 years, Matt Koziak will return to Shores, his alma mater. Koziak, who graduated in 1994, was named the 10th head football coach in Sailor history on March 14. "He was one of 24 applicants that applied," athletic director Ryan Portenga said. "He has a wealth of knowledge from his playing and coaching career which has earned him state championships while as offensive coordinator at Muskegon High School." Koziak’s football knowledge began at Shores as a player before he played at both Grand Rapids Community College and Western Michigan University. Koziak began his coaching career at Steele Middle School in 2002; he then became a varsity assistant coach in 2004 at Muskegon High School. He then left Muskegon to go to Muskegon Heights to be the offensive coordinator in 2005, but he returned to Muskegon as offensive coordinator in 2006, where he helped them win two state titles in three seasons. Eventually, he took over the Big Red program, and his one season in 2009, he led them to a 7-4 record before resigning at the end of the season. Despite his impressive background in footall, picking coach Koziak was not the easiest decision Mr. Portenga could have made. "The stars had to align in multiple areas to get coach Koziak," Portenga said. "It had to be the right fit educationally, it had to be the right fit for his family, and it had to be the right fit in the building and around the student-athletes. It was the right time for a talented alumnus like coach Koziak to start a new era of football here at Mona Shores." That new era will first have to overcome a history with few successes in the Sailor football program. Shores has had just 14 winning records in 46 years of varsity football with an overall record of 170-249-4. The best record was in 1968 with 8-1. Additionally, Shores is one of two schools on the west side of the state than has not qualified for the playoffs (Hart is the other one.). "There are a few reasons I applied for the job," Koziak said. "One, I went to Mona Shores, so I wanted to give back to the high school that I went to. Two, I live in the district, and my kids go there. I also want the challenge to change the school around to have a football program to be proud of." With the preparation of the upcoming season approaching, Koziak is getting anxious to get started right away. "I first plan to meet with the kids and parents to get to know each other," Koziak said. "Then, we are going to start to lift hard and train hard. I don’t want to waste days. If we want to be good, we have to take advantage of the time that we have." With Koziak being anxious and excited for the new season, he said he is also bringing his own style to the program. "I don’t know much about what the staff did in the past," Koziak said. "I do have new ideas and things that I bring to the table, ideas like I used at Muskegon. I want to bring my own style and philosophy to the program." However, football is not the only thing coach Koziak is focused on. He has short and long term goals for the players to do well in school as well as on the football field. "My short-term goal is to get the kids in the weight room and workout after school, but I also want to get them academically set," Koziak said. "My long-term goal is for the kids in the program to get their diplomas and go to the next level whether that is in football or college in general." Along with football and academics, for another long-term goal coach Koziak would also like to see the varsity kids give back to their community. "I want the varsity kids to give back to the community," Kozaik said. "I would like to see the program, from Pee Wee to Dynamite to Middle School to High School levels all be successful and be a family."