After Sam Becker stepped down as Kenowa Hills football coach less than four weeks ago to take an assistant principal position at Newaygo Middle School, the Knights were in a tough spot.
With just four weeks until the official start of high school football throughout the state of Michigan, former West Ottawa head coach Rory Zegunis was named as the school's new head football.
"As coaches, we say football is a great game for handling adversity and teaching life lessons and I feel like that is what football has done for me," Zegunis said. "This is definitely an adverse situation. There is really no blueprint, as I talk to my coaching friends, about how to handle this and what to do."
The process of adjusting and getting ready for the season is already well underway.
"We are not going to make excuses, no one is going to feel sorry for us," Zegunis said. "You hear that a lot anyway, but it is so true now and I am just going to do what I've always done and get out there and work my butt off and do the best I can and get the kids prepared."
The Knights had been running the wing-t offense the last four seasons.
Zegunis will begin transitioning the program to more of a spread team like Zeeland East where he spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach under Derek Pennington.
"I have already gone into it and said it is not going to be, a year from now, maybe two years from now the playbook will look a little differently," Zegunis said. "I got to evaluate the kids and see what type of athletes we are going to have and what types of kids we are going to have and based off of that get some plays together and start getting the kids emersed into what we are doing."
Zegunis was 26-23 from 2011 to 2015 at West Ottawa which included three playoff appearances.
As defensive coordinator with the Chix he helped lead the program to 35 wins which included reaching the state semifinals in 2018.
"I've grown leaps and bounds from a speed and strength standpoint," Zegunis said about how he has improved as a coach over the last five seasons. "Just running a team, offensive philosophy and just the different connections I have been able to make."
Kenowa Hills is scheduled to play its first game of the 2021 season on Thursday, August 26 at Fruitport.