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North Muskegon’s Larry Witham chosen Detroit Lions High School Football Coach of Week

In eighth season at helm of his alma mater, Witham has Norsemen 6-0 overall and tied for No. 4 ranking in Division 7.

Photos by CJ Bennett and Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

Larry Witham and his North Muskegon football team are in the midst of a special season in 2023.

Another layer was added on Tuesday (Oct. 3), when Witham was announced the Detroit Lions High School Coach of the Week in the state of Michigan for Week 6.

Witham, who is in his eighth season as North Muskegon’s head coach, guided the Norsemen to a 34-7 homecoming victory over Montague last Friday in a West Michigan Conference nondivisional matchup.

“This is an indoctrination of where our program is,” Witham said. “It has nothing to do with me, but it’s got everything to do with our kids, our coaching staff, our community at large. It’s a program award — it’s not an award for me. That’s the way I see it.”

North Muskegon (6-0 overall, 3-0 WMC Rivers Division) heads to Ravenna (3-3, 3-1) this Friday looking to move one step closer to locking up a second-straight divisional championship. The Norsemen are seeking their first 7-0 start to a season since 1988.

The Norse, who have outscored their first six opponents by a combined 244-75 margin this season, are tied for No. 4 in the latest Michigan Associated Press high school football state rankings for Division 7.

Witham, 62, is a 1980 North Muskegon alumnus. He became head coach at his alma mater in 2016. Overall, the Norsemen are 43-30 with him at the helm.

In 2015, when Hart canceled its varsity football season, Witham coached the Pirates’ junior varsity squad to a 9-0 record.

Witham has coached football for 30 years total with stops at North Muskegon, Holland West Ottawa, Mona Shores, and Kalamazoo College. He also spent 15 seasons as North Muskegon’s softball coach, enjoying a good degree of success in that role as well.

“To me, this is a collection of a lot of different things — certainly, ‘W’s’ and ‘L’s.’ If we’re not playing really well, then our program’s not getting recognized,” Witham said. “It’s a community award and I truly believe that. These kids are special. Our community is special. To have this happen to a small community like ours (is special).

“It’s all about relationships, man. It’s all about the relationships you make with players.”

The Detroit Lions High School Coach of the Week/Coach of the Year program is in its 27th year. It was awarded $491,000 to high school football programs throughout the state.

Each winning coach during the regular season receives a $1,000 donation to his school’s football program. At the conclusion of the season, the Lions Coach of the Week/Coach of the Year panel will select the Coach of the Year, who will receive a $3,000 donation to his school’s football program.

Each weekly winner is selected by a panel of high school football media members: Mick McCabe (Detroit Free Press), Hugh Bernreuter (MLive Saginaw News), Bret Bakita (WOOD Radio-106.9 FM, 96.1 FM- The Game, Fox 17/Grand Rapids), James Cook (Traverse City Record-Eagle), Scott DeCamp (CatchMark SportsNet), and Chris Fritzsching, who is the Lions’ director of Football Education.

During the nine-week Michigan high school football regular season, one coach that best develops his players’ character, discipline, and football skill in addition to emphasizing player health and safety in their program, will be recognized for his commitment to the team, school, and community.

The 2023 program will award $12,000 to aid in the development and promotion of high school football in the state of Michigan, thanks to contributions from the Detroit Lions and the NFL Foundation.

CLICK HERE to watch the discussion between Witham and Chris Fritzsching of Detroit Lions Football Education.

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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