MENOMINEE - A record-breaking tailback who is still flinging touchdown passes is the new Menominee head football coach.
Joe Noha, who joined the Maroon coaching staff in 1994 and played tailback for Menominee (1980-82), begins a new era in Maroon football following the retirement of Ken Hofer.
"It's a great honor," said Noha. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity of continuing the proud tradition of Menominee football. "Satch" Englund and Ken leave a huge void. They're like Batman and Robin. I'm going to do my best to maintain those high standards."
Dale VanDuinen was the offensive line coach of the Maroons with Noha before taking over as the Menominee athletic director.
"This is his dream job," said VanDuinen. "He's prepared himself to be a head coach. I think he'll do a great job."
VanDuinen pointed out that Noha's commitment to young people were as important as his qualities as a coach.
"Joe doesn't just want to develop athletes, he wants to develop good kids," said VanDuinen. "You're never going to replace someone line Coach (Hofer). Joe knows the legacy here. He just has to be himself and go on from there."
The single wing offense that brought fame to Menominee will remain, according to Noha.
"I think that's what is best for the kids and the staff and what is best for a great program," Noha explained. "That offense is in the best interests of everyone."
When Menominee lost eight straight games to Great Northern Conference power Kingsford, Noha implemented a weight-training program that helped pave the way to a state title in 1998 and back-to-back unbeaten state title runs in 2006 and 2007.
Noha and Englund built a defense that is one of the best in the U.P. and a cornerstone of the championship runs.
Noha, who still competes in the Menominee flag football league, combined with Scott Owens to set passing records during his career with the Maroons. He holds the school record for career passing yards (2,165), passes completed in a season (94, 1982) and most passes in a season (189, 1982) and most passes in a career (313).
He was an all-state and All-U.P. Dream Team selection at quarterback in his senior year with the Maroons and continued his football career at Saginaw Valley State University.
Following the legendary coaching career of Hofer is a daunting task, but Noha pointed out that his goal is to continue the character-building set in place by Hofer and Englund.
"The standards of Maroon football are high," he said. "My goal is to teach young men how to be hard working, responsible men, fathers and husbands.
"The template is there. My job is to put people in the right places."
Noha pointed out that when he struggled with a decision to remain at Saginaw Valley, Englund was there for him.
"Satch" is an incredible guy. He cares so much and he's so witty. He's mentored me and given me great guidance. He's one of the reasons that I want to give back to the program."
Jamie Schomer will return as the offensive line coach, but no decision has been made on who will replace Englund.
"We have a great contingent of coaches," said Noha. "I'll put together the best staff I can. I look forward to coaching with the great coaches we have on our staff."
Noha coached the boys' tennis team to a U.P. title and is the freshman boys' basketball coach.
Noha will be the head coach of the East team in the U.P. All-Star Football Game June 30 at the Superior Dome in Marquette. Schomer, freshman coach Drew Buyarski and junior varsity coach Dave Mathieu will be assistant coaches.
"It's very exciting as a coach," Noha said. "In the previous years I've been involved, I've been very impressed to the attitude and character of the athletes. They may be the top players on their teams, but they don't act like prima donnas."