Club Football looks to continue tradition with new coach

OU Football Club looks to continue winning tradition despite change in leadership with new head coach

After finishing with an 18-1 record and winning a national championship as head coach of the football club, Tom Menas stepped down as head coach to pursue other opportunities. With the sudden resignation of Menas, football club team Adviser Nic Bongers and President Nate Emery began the coaching search right away. A few weeks later, Bongers and Emery found the right man for the job…Rick Fracassa.

Fracassa has twenty years of coaching experience under his belt at the high school level. Now, Fracassa is under pressure to continue the winning tradition of the OU club football program.

Bongers and Emery knew that they needed to find a new head coach that will continue the club’s winning tradition, and when Fracassa’s name popped up, they knew they had to get him. It wasn’t until February of 2018 when Bongers and Emery heard about Fracassa and his interest in coaching the team

“There were a handful of candidates for the coaching position,” Bongers said. “His vibes were spot-on with what we wanted. I believe the team voted him in after a week of deliberation. I think everyone agreed that what stood out from him was a laid-back and optimistic attitude, and reliability in terms of doing what what he says he’s going to do.”

Fracassa, who spent about twenty years coaching football at Birmingham Brother Rice Catholic high school at the freshman and junior varsity levels, has lived in his father’s shadow for his entire coaching career. His father, Al Fracassa, ranks second in most career wins by a high school head coach in the state of Michigan, won nine state championships at Brother Rice, and as of September 2017, ranked 10th in wins on the MaxPreps head football coaches of all time. Fracassa isn’t concerned about his father’s legacy, or building his own legacy.

I’m only concerned for our team legacy and how we can maximize our fun factor this season as this group of guys have worked so hard in preparation to win a National Championship,” Fracassa said. “Winning will build a bigger better football program for future OU student-athletes and winning will be a blast for us this season.”

Fracassa is looking further ahead for his plans for the football club. He hopes that eventually, this football club could someday become part of the NCAA.

“Short term goal is to win the National Championship that hopefully sets the stage for our long term goal of becoming an NCAA sanctioned football program to compete for a division 2 National Championship and put OU on the map with a great football program,” Fracassa said. “OU Student Athletes deserve all the opportunity to perform on the biggest stage available both in academics and athletics. I would love to be that guy that helps this university get to that level.”

Since joining the National Club Football Association (NCFA) in 2013, no team has won more games than the Golden Grizzles, with a record of 32 wins and only 5 losses (including playoffs). The club has also won two national championships (2014 and 2016), three Great Lake Conference championships, and has never lost more than two games in a single season.

When Emery was asked if he felt the pressure to keep the winning tradition alive, he didn’t seem too worried.

“It’s a blessing to be in this position, with a target on our backs,” Emery said. “We embrace it with everything we do.”

The last couple of seasons, teams in the NCFA have not wanted to play the team simply because they were too good and they showed no mercy against their opponents. Last season, the football club defeated U of M-Flint twice last season, with a combined score of 163-6. But now, with a new head coach and very few returning players, teams around the league are hungry for revenge on this football team.

The Golden Grizzlies kick off their season against the newly formed Lawrence Tech University Blue Devils at Lawrence Tech on September 1st at noon.