GREENVILLE, Mich. — After a resignation in early June, the Greenville football program was without a head coach just two months away from the start of practices.
"We were all pretty surprised and desperate, I'd say, for a coach," said Asher VanHaren, a junior offensive and defensive lineman.
The resignation would lead to the program hiring a fourth coach in four seasons.
"It's been pretty difficult learning these new offenses every single year," added Cameron Cooper, a junior runningback and linebacker.
Mike Ricco was hired as the program's varsity head football coach in March but would step down due to personal reasons just two months later, leaving the players, and program, back at square one.
"I was kind of freaking out," Cooper said. "The early season was about to start, preseason, workouts and stuff and we didn't even have a head coach."
Greenville resident and long-time assistant coach Tom Hallock has seen the ups and downs of the program over the past few seasons and knows what the kids have been through.
"We had a coach for two years, he resigned, we had a coach we hired back in March, he resigned in May, so these kids have been shuffled around with that," Hallock told FOX 17.
Hallock has been coaching different levels of football in Greenville for 21 years, mainly at the junior varsity level and is also a teacher in the district.
He immediately offered his services as soon as the job came open again.
"There's a senior that's not playing this year that's a three-year starter that said, 'hey coach, I love you but you're the fourth coach I've had and we've had three different offenses and multiple different defenses,' and that's tough."
The returning players on the roster say they simply want a coach that will be there for them in the long term.
"We want someone who's going to stay with the program, not just leave in two years," Cooper said. "We want someone who will build this up, because the last few years have been tough, I think we're finally starting to build up."
And Hallock says if it's up to him, he's ready to stay for the long haul.
"I'm born and raised in Greenville, I'm a Greenville guy so I plan on being here for years," he said.
Just in the first few weeks as a first-time head coach, Hallock has taught the players so much and has done so in a fun and loving way.
"He's got a lot of energy, he's really excited to be here," smiled VanHaren. "It's really fun to be around him. He's a serious guy, he's serious when we're messing around but that's just a sign of a good coach."
Hallock knows the program has only won one game over the past two seasons but his expectations are to compete game in and game out.
"I was talking to one of the coaches this summer and he said, 'hey you're getting back to that old Greenville grit style of football,' and I said, 'absolutely because we have to bring that back,' we have those kind of kids that are hard-working and listen, they're coachable."
The Yellow Jackets will open the season on Thursday, Aug. 26 at home against Allendale.