Reeths-Puffer’s athletic department is ready to celebrate and not because it’s New Year’s Eve.
Cody Kater has been announced as the Rockets’ new head football coach, R-P athletic director Cliff Sandee announced Friday morning.
Kater, 30, a former Montague star quarterback and assistant coach, spent the most recent football season working in Georgia under Noel Dean at Tift County Schools.
At Reeths-Puffer, Kater fills the position vacated by the resignation of Matt Bird, who stepped down after recording a 10-15 record in three seasons at the helm. The Rockets were 3-6 in the 2021 season.
This is Kater’s first head-coaching position.
“I am excited to join the athletic staff at Reeths-Puffer High School. I look forward to building relationships with the student-athletes and getting to work to set the new standard,” Kater, a 2010 Montague alumnus, said in a release.
“I firmly believe in the administration and Cliff Sandee’s vision for the football program as we work to restore pride with Rocket City.”
Kater had accepted the offensive coordinator position at Muskegon prior to last season before the opportunity at Tift County emerged. Tift County is located in Tifton, Ga., about 45 minutes north of Valdosta. It’s a 7A school, the largest classification in Georgia.
At Tift County, he was quarterbacks coach and director of offensive implementation for grades 6-12. He worked under Dean, the former Lowell coach who was inducted in the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
According to Kater, at Tift County he was able to learn about a systematic, intentional and organized approach to developing a program.
At his Montague alma mater, Kater served as an assistant football coach for six seasons, including the last three as offensive coordinator. In 2020, he helped the Wildcats earn the program’s third Division 6 state championship in a 12-0 season.
In his time coaching and teaching at Montague, Kater was strength and conditioning coordinator for all athletes in the school, plus he held titles of associate head football coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In his six years with the football program, the Wildcats captured four West Michigan Conference titles, five district championships, three regional crowns and two appearances in the state finals.
Kater also coached Montague’s girls varsity program for five seasons. In 2020-21, he guided the Wildcats to a 17-1 record with a perfect regular season, a Division 2 district title and No. 7 state ranking. Montague won back-to-back league titles in girls basketball his last two seasons in that position.
As a Montague athlete, Kater quarterbacked Montague to back-to-back state titles in 2008 and 2009 and he also starred on the basketball court, helping the Wildcats reach the state semifinals at the Breslin Center.
Kater seemed to be a top candidate for the Montague head-coaching position in the football program following the departure of Pat Collins in 2020, but he accepted coaching and teaching positions at Muskegon and then changed course and landed in Georgia.
“We couldn’t be happier than to welcome coach Cody Kater to lead our football program,” Sandee said in the release. “After an exhaustive search and conversations with an incredibly deep and an outstanding candidate pool, it became clear that Coach Kater was our guy. Coach Kater loves to compete, loves to prepare, and loves his athletes.
“We are so excited to have Coach Kater lead our young men and our football program. Coach has a well-articulated plan for a comprehensive program with articulated checkpoints for the development of our athletes, youth through varsity. This vertical alignment will surely lead to sustainable success and growth for our football program. There is no doubt that he will continue to grow our program, serve our student-athletes and foster excitement throughout all of our community.”
Last week, Kater was CatchMark SportsNet’s featured guest on the VanDyk Mortgage Power Hour, hosted by North Grove Brewers in Montague. You can watch that episode of the show here:
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