Longtime Grand Rapids area football coach Scott VanEssen is headed to Newaygo.
Newaygo High School officials have announced that Van Essen has been named the school’s varsity football coach and athletic director. Van Essen has coached Kenowa Hills since 2003, and before that, he served as Grand Rapids Union’s head coach for 11 seasons.
“I am very excited about the opportunity to be a part of Newaygo Public Schools and more specifically Newaygo football and Newaygo athletics,” Van Essen said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working with the students, staff and community in Newaygo and working to continue to grow the athletic programs.
“There are a lot of great people at NPS and in the community, and I am excited to be a part of something special. As far as football goes, we will look to get started right away and continue to build on the strong football tradition that Newaygo has already built. I am looking forward to being a Lion.”
Van Essen guided the Knights to the state playoffs in five consecutive seasons from 2008-through-2012. The Knights finished 4-5 in each of the past two years. Van Essen will take over a Newaygo team that went 3-6 last fall.
Van Essen also has helped coach the track team, served a student supervisor and assisted with athletic events and game management. Van Essen was named the West Michigan Officials Association Coach of the Year in 2015, and his teams earned Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Academic All- State honors in 1998, 2002, 2008-through-2013 and in 2016.