MUSKEGON, Mich. — If you ask Muskegon's football players, they'll tell you about their coaches.
"They are very passionate about what they do," senior Billie Roberts said. "They take their job serious."
"They are so passionate at what they do," senior D'Andre Mills-Ellis added. "They spend endless time and energy coaching us and getting us ready for every game."
The staff is made up mostly of guys who played for head coach Shane Fairfield while he was an assistant under Tony Annese at Muskegon.
"You were successful as a player and then you come back as a coach when you are teaching and coaching your system and our philosophies," Fairfield said. "It's heartfelt and it is meaningful because it is what is the blueprint of success."
The coaching goes well beyond football too. These coaches serves as mentors for Big Red players off the field as well.
"Coaches always say if you need anything, if you need a ride home or if you get stuck anywhere, if you need any money or if you need anything to eat they will look out for you," Roberts said. "Our coaching staff is most definitely a family, this team is a family."
"Honestly football is only really 50 percent of it," Mills-Ellis added. "Their job is really getting us ready for life and they have definitely been doing a wonderful job of that."
This season the team motto is 'commit' and that does not just apply to the players.
"A lot of our coaches families are committed," Fairfield said. "They are committed to the cause, they know it is going to be 14 weeks usually, they know that Thanksgiving weekend is going to be tough on the family and a lot of weekends in the summer. Team camp, veer camp, a lot of our coaches family vacations are veer camp where we spend three days on the other side of the state and they get to bring their wives or whatever and they stay in a hotel room and they say hey honey we just went on vacation, but it's actually coaching football."
Having the same staff together that has made many deep runs in the playoffs before does not always make things easier this time of year.
"One of our defensive coaches and I got into a little argument over what we want to do for Saturday already and its Monday," Fairfield said. "It is great that we have the confidence and we challenge each other, I do not have yes guys on the staff I have guys that are very strong opioninated on things and believe in what they do and what they think and that is what makes us so good.
The Big Reds will take on River Rouge this Saturday in a division three state championship game at 7:30 p.m. at Ford Field.