VARSITY FOOTBALL Moller steps down as Elk head football coach
Tony Moller reluctantly resigned in order to focus on his landscaping business.
Photo by Kim Eardley Photography
Elk Rapids head varsity football coach Tony Moller surprised the Elk football community last week as he turned in his resignation as the Elk head football coach, ending a 15-year coaching run in the Elk football program. Moller stepping down was not the result of health issues, any type of scandal or another coaching job, he is the victim of the employee shortage that hangs over Michigan.
Moller is the owner of Evergreen Landscaping and Irrigation, began in 1994, and Elk Rapids Nursery, entering season number 17, and also has a weekly rental business. For the first time Moller has struggled to find employees, the labor situation being bad enough that he realized that he would not be able to find the time that coaching requires. “I have to work. I am too short handed. My landscape crews are set, but I am mowing 75 lawns a week myself. I haven’t mowed lawns in 25 years, I have always hired people for it,” Moller said.
Two weeks ago, Moller came to the realization that he would be unable to continue as Elk head football coach, that he needed to concentrate on his businesses. “This is sad, but football doesn’t pay the bills,” he said.Moller has been the Elk head football coach for the last two seasons and was defensive coordinator for two years prior to that. He has been involved in most every aspect of coaching in the football program since being hired by former Elk football coach Ed Schindler in 2006. Moller started his coaching career in Elk Rapids in the baseball program in 1996, both at the JV level and then assisting varsity under former baseball coaches Patrick Potter and Al Vasquez.
Just two months ago Moller was talking excitedly about the upcoming season. A full staff in place, weight rooms back open and the numbers looking good, the 2021 schedule was out, and strategies were being discussed. The newly renovated ER Fieldhouse was open and operational with plans to publicly showcase the new headquarters during the annual Black and Orange scrimmage. Covid restrictions were greatly eased and nearly gone, but the unanticipated side effect rose up, finding people that wanted to work. As Moller turned in his resignation, the job vacancy was posted by Elk athletic director Jim Standerfer, who now must find a new head football coach.
“Tony has been a huge part of the football program. He rebuilt what I call the old pole barn into locker room and coaches’ area, and it looks really good. He is dedicated, puts in long hours and really loves the game and the players. This is an unfortunate situation, and hopefully things will get better, and we can have him back someday,” said Standerfer.
The job vacancy will be posted for two weeks, then Standerfer will begin interviewing and find a coach. “We will evaluate as applicants come in. Maybe someone from the current staff, or an outsider, we will go through the process and find the best coach for Elk Rapids football,” said Standerfer.
Thanks go out to Coach Tony Moller and his unwavering dedication to the players and to Elk Rapids football. The Elk football program looks forward to Moller someday being back on the sidelines!
YOUTH BASEBALL Summer baseball ends with Elk championships
The Chain of Lakes summer baseball season came to an end last Sunday (7/11) with a pair of Elk Rapids squads winning the end of season tournaments. The Minor A boys team, with players 13-14 years old, are under the watch of Elk head varsity baseball coach Tim Barber. Minor finished the regular season undefeated at 10-0, outscoring their opponents an incredible 162 to 13. The Minor team rolled through Bellaire and Central Lake in the postseason to face Kalkaska 2 in the title game, coming away with a commanding 15-2 win and the championship hardware.
The Elk Peanut A1 team, coached by Matt Rainey, tied for first place at 9-1 in the regular season conference standings with the Elk Peanut A 2 team, coached by Brent Jarsoz. The Peanut League is made of players from the 9-10-year-old age group. Peanut A1 racked up nine straight wins before falling to Kalkaska 1 in the regular season finale 10-6. In the postseason tournament, Peanut 1 won by forfeit over Mancelona, then avenged the season finale loss with a 7-6 extra inning victory over Kalkaska 1 to reach the title game against Kalkaska 3. The championship trophy went to the Elks with a 12-6 drubbing of the Kalkaska 3 squad.
The championship title games were played in Ellsworth, the regular season home games took place at the Kewadin Fields. The leagues are made up from teams from Forest Area, Mancelona, Central Lake, Bellaire and Kalkaska along with the Elks. “These teams along with the Elk players in the other leagues of summer baseball represent the future of varsity baseball at Elk Rapids,” said Barber. “We have some good young players coming up, and if they keep working hard and continue to improve the future looks very good for Elk baseball.” Congratulations to the Elk championship teams, and all the Elk squads that played hard in the season. Elk Pride rears up whenever a team takes the field!
The undefeated Chain of Lakes Minor A Champion Elks: Coach Tim Barber, Jason Jansen, Sam Smith, Carson Hidalgo, Alex Barber, Nathan Barton, Jayden Hresko, Jack Dupuie, Hunter Hall, Lennon Lawrence, Trace Toteff, Joel Darin and Assistant Coach Brandon Darin. Not pictured: Braden Fluty. Courtesy photo
The Chain of Lakes Peanut A Champion Elks: front row: Landon Voice, Jaden Nelson, Bosko Rainey, Grant Hamilton, Dayton Shawano. middle row: Mason Dowker, Elmer Short, Matthew Barton, Luke Hawkins. back row: Sam Bratschi, Braxton Ayers, Austin Tonn, Coaches Matt Rainey and Assistant Coach Joe Short. Courtesy photo
Elk Rapids News 212 River Street P.O. Box 176 Elk Rapids, Michigan 49629 231-264-6670 Phone 231-264-6685 Fax