Marquette hires football, volleyball coaches

MARQUETTE — Marquette Senior High School has new bench bosses for two of its premier fall sports programs.

In a joint press conference held at the school, athletics director Alex Tiseo introduced Ann Crandell-Williams as the new varsity volleyball coach while Eric Mason takes over the reins of the Redmen football program.

Crandell-Williams comes to Marquette after serving as co-head volleyball coach at Munising High School with her husband Ted Williams, who retired from coaching at the conclusion of last season.

Crandell served as Mustangs’ co-coach beginning in 2017, leading Munising to the state semifinals while also reaching the regional round in 2018. Munising accumulated a 48-17-10 record in those two seasons.

Prior to coaching at Munising, Crandell-Williams was an assistant coach at Manistique High School. In her playing days, she was a two-year captain at Lake Superior State.

“I’m looking forward to taking over the volleyball program,” she said. “In terms of my vision for this year, I’m trying to get my feet under me. I’m learning a lot about the school and the players.

“Obviously my objective is to build a successful program, or continue a successful program, I should say.”

Crandell-Williams will take the place of former coach Mike Morgan, who led the Redettes to the Great Northern Conference championship in 2018.

“The girls are coming off of a conference championship,” Crandell-Williams said. “They’re strong players, we have several returners and it would be great to see those girls bring in another conference championship.

“I’d love to see these girls be competitive on a state tournament level. I know they were competitive at the district level last year and it would be great to see them make a run for it again this year.

“My ultimate goal is success and whatever that means to the players. I really have to get to know the players and as a coach, I see them as the ones who will be setting the goals for the year, and really defining a vision of what they want to work on and what the next steps are for them.

“That’s what I’m most excited about is getting to know the players, what they want to work on, their next steps and helping them get there.”

Mason has been at the helm of the MSHS freshmen football program since 2010, leading the Redmen ninth-graders to an undefeated season in 2018.

Mason’s football experience includes coaching in Marquette County Youth Football for 11 years, along with being a player on the football teams at both Northern Michigan University and Escanaba High School, where he was a captain for the Eskymos. Mason also has coaching experience in Special Olympics.

While bringing a strong coaching resume to the table, Mason said he never thought he would get to the varsity level.

“Varsity head coaching is a childhood dream of mine that honestly I didn’t think was ever possible,” he said.

Mason takes over for Dave L’Huillier, who led the varsity program for the previous nine seasons. He thanked the former coach for giving him the freshmen job at Marquette in 2010.

“Dave brought me in to Marquette and asked me to coach approximately 10 years ago,” he said. “At that point, I didn’t think being a coach at the high school was possible because I wasn’t a teacher. Dave brought me in and through the last 10 years, has taught me a great deal about football, the kids and how to handle yourself as a coach.”

L’Huillier stepped down at the conclusion of the 2018 season, citing that it was time to step away from coaching and that it was a personal decision. Like Mason, he came into the varsity head coaching job as Redmen freshman head coach.

Mason stated that football is mainly about the kids, a lesson taught to him by his former high school coach Dan Flynn, and will base his overall goals on that lesson.

“What my objectives are is No. 1, continuing to develop relationships with the students, furthering the ones I currently have from coaching them in the past, establishing new relationships with the people coming in, and even continuing those relationships with the players that have graduated and moved on.

“There’s nothing better than when those individuals come to you when they’re done playing, thanking you for what you’ve taught them not just football-wise, but just in life.

“At the end of the day, the kids are the most important thing. If you can get 11 kids that believe and trust in you, you can get them to do amazing things.”

Thirteen candidates applied for the football position, while six applied for the volleyball position, according to Tiseo, with a full search conducted for both.

“With any hire, you want to go through the full and comprehensive process of posting the position and evaluating your applicants,” Tiseo said. “You look at Ann’s resume and it really speaks for itself. She was a collegiate volleyball player and team captain at LSSU, so you can see she’s got that leadership experience.

“When she was co-coaching at Munising with her husband, the program had a very high level of success. Even when you saw that team come into the gym, they were very well prepared, warmed up as a team, they were there, excited and amped up. That’s what we know she’ll bring to our program here.”

While Mason was hired from within, Tiseo said the process was also open to every candidate.

“It wasn’t a priority to hire from within,” Tiseo said. “It was a very open process and we were trying to cast as wide of a net as possible to see what interested candidates we would have. We did formulate a search committee comprised of other school administrators both at the high school and over at Bothwell (Middle School) as well.”

Some of those committee members were Marquette Area Public Schools Parent Teacher Student Organization president Jack Frost, school board president Rich Rossway, MSHS faculty member Karla McCutcheon, MSHS principal Jon Young and Tiseo.

“With that search committee, we evaluated our applicant pool and received 13 applicants,” Tiseo said about the football job. “We narrowed it down to four interviews that were conducted with Eric really coming in and truly impressing us both with his body of work to this point as our weight room’s certified strength and conditioning coach as well as our freshmen football coach.

“We know we’re going to get a great leader, a great role model and a great teacher for the sport of football in head coach Eric Mason.”

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