It looks like the continued growth of the Aquinas football program will have to happen under a new head coach.
Matt LeZotte, the Fighting Irish head coach for the past four seasons, will be heading to Wayne County to be an assistant coach, pending board approval, the coach said Thursday.
LeZotte went 28-16 at Aquinas, with the Irish reaching the Class A state quarterfinals in 2011 – the best run in program history. LeZotte also coached the program to its first state playoff victory that season.
In 2012, Aquinas went 8-3.
“I love these guys,” LeZotte said about the Aquinas team. “I’ve got a relationship with a lot of these guys. It hurts me to know they’d be upset, but this decision was strictly for my career and my family.”
LeZotte, who has a newborn daughter, said the entire process happened very suddenly. He heard about an open teaching position at Wayne County, and, soon enough, he found a job.
At Wayne County (6-5-1 last year), LeZotte will be the running backs coach and will also help with other duties. He will work for head coach Jody Grooms, who was formerly the head coach at Lakeside from the 2007-2009 seasons.
LeZotte, 31, said he looks forward to being a student to the teacher Grooms, a setup he thinks will help prepare him to be a head coach again.
LeZotte added that the foundation built at Aquinas should lead to more success in the future.
“I feel like, even with the staff now, we have all the working parts together to continue our winning ways,” LeZotte said. “You always want to leave a job in a better situation than when you got it and I feel like I’ve done that with the commitment from the coaches and players.”
LeZotte’s new job will be in a much higher classification: the coach goes from Class A private to Class AAAA. It’ll be much different at Wayne County
LeZotte will fondly remember his time with the Irish.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have the coaching staff I’ve had,” LeZotte said. “They worked tirelessly to build this thing from the ground up.”