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FOOTBALL: Retiring Lantzy leaves with high hopes for Eagles
'I really feel I've had a great career,' coach says
Macomb Daily staff photo by Ray J. Skowronek Former Eisenhower football stars Joe Youngblood, left, and John DiGiorgio get together with coach Bob Lantzy prior to Lantzy’s announcement that he is stepping down as the Eagles’ coach after 41 seasons.
But someone other than Lantzy will be the Eagles’ head coach.
“I want to wish you the best; I know next year is going to be another great year at Eisenhower,” Lantzy, 65, said with his wife, Joan, at his side at the Eagles’ post-season team dinner at The Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township on Wednesday night.
“I really feel I’ve had a great career,” Lantzy said. “This is the year to end it. I want to thank everyone.”
Next year, Eisenhower returns standout players like quarterback Joe Zerafa and lineman David Curle.
“You’ll be ranked in the top three in the state in every poll,” Lantzy told the Eagles, whom he reminded that, to be successful, one must have a dream, develop a plan to achieve the dream, and then execute the plan.
Lantzy, the only coach the Eagles have had since the program’s first varsity season, in 1971, led Eisenhower to the Macomb Area Conference Red Division championship plus district and regional titles this season.
The Eagles shared the Macomb County Team of the Year award with Michigan Collegiate.
Lantzy’s teams won 13 league championships in his 41 seasons.
Lantzy saved the announcement of his retirement, which had been rumored for several weeks, for the last of his remarks at the team dinner.
Before he made his decision official, Lantzy and other Eisenhower coaches saluted players and the team’s support staff, and they handed out post-season awards.
Also at the event, Lantzy, a retired Eisenhower teacher, announced the retirement of three Eagles jersey numbers: 17 for Joe Youngblood; 13 for Joe DiGiorgio and 47 for John DiGiorgio.
Youngblood was the Macomb County Player of the Year in 1988. The DiGiorgio brothers led the Eagles to multiple state-finals appearances starting in 1999.
1971: Eagles’ first varsity season, and they post a 3-6 record.
1982: Eagles win first league championship as they capture Macomb Athletic Conference National Division title.
1988: Led by county Player of the Year and future Central Michigan quarterback Joe Youngblood, Eisenhower wins first Macomb Area Conference Red Division title and advances to state semifinal game, going 11-1 overall. Ike wins first of seven county Team of the Year awards.
1988-1993: Eagles win six consecutive MAC Red Division titles, going a combined 30-3 from ’91-93.
1999: In first year of current state playoff format, in which 256 teams qualify, Eagles finish third in the MAC Red but catch fire in the post-season and advance to Division 1 state championship game with squad led by future Buffalo Bill John DiGiorgio. Ike will not miss the playoffs again under Lantzy, qualifying each of his final 13 seasons.
2000: Eagles return to state finals, and get to state title game in 2001, as well.
2000-2004: Eisenhower wins five consecutive MAC Red championships, and returns to state finals in 2003.
2011: Lantzy’s final season is among the Eagles’ better years as Ike goes 11-2, wins MAC Red, district and regional championships. The district crown is the Eagles’ sixth, the regional title their fifth.
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Last Updated: 11/30/2011 11:40:06 PM EST