Four Chelsea Coaches Win Michigan Interscholastic 2020 Regional Coach of the Year Awards

Women’s cross country coach Pat Clarke, men’s cross country coach Eric Swager, golf coach Joe Ewald and football coach Josh Lucas all won Michigan Interscholastic Regional Coach of the Year awards after successful fall seasons.

Coach Pat Clarke Credit: @ChelseaBulldogs Twitter

Coach Clarke has been an employee of Chelsea school district for 54 years and has coached the very sport he started up at CHS for almost all of that time. This season the women’s cross country team won the region and placed 7th in the state. The team has qualified for the state meet, meaning the team has placed top three in the region, 26 of the last 34 years and have “ended it with a fine effort every time.”

“It has been my great pleasure and honor to have coached you [the team] along with [assistant] coach Jen McPherson this season,” Coach Clarke wrote in an email to families of the girls and a post to the team after the state meet on their running log app. “They [the runners on this year’s team] are a truly special group who blended together well to form a fine competitive team that accomplished every goal that they set for themselves at the start of the season. We will miss our senior captains… and will return all the rest of our top runners. I am really looking forward to working with our returning veterans and our young runners next year when we will attempt to continue our fine tradition.”

Coach Eric Swager
Credit: @ChelseaBulldogs Twitter

This season the men’s cross country team qualified for the state meet for the 19th year in a row and won the region for the 5th consecutive year under coach Swager. The team finished fourth in the state, their fourth top four finish in the last four years—including two back-to-back state championships— and 5th top 10 finish in the last five.

“This year was a very weird year, but this odd group of guys embraced the work ethic to once again finish as one of the top teams in the whole state,” Coach Swager wrote in an email synopsis to the team after the state meet. “I am so thankful and blessed to be part of such an amazing program.”

Coach Ewald Credit: @ChelseaBulldogs on Twitter

Coach Ewald has been coaching golf at Chelsea for 19 years. He has coached the men’s team all 19 years, and this season was his 7th season with the women’s team. Despite only returning 3 experienced players and gaining 3 new girls on the varsity lineup, they placed 2nd in the SEC White Division, 6th at regionals and ended with a record of 8-5.

“I thought we had a tremendously successful season,” coach Ewald said. “I’m very proud of our finish in the standings, especially when you look at where we were before the season started, wondering if we would even have enough girls to field a competitive team.”

Coach Josh Lucas, Credit: MLive.com

So far during Lucas’ second season with the Bulldogs, the team has gone 9-0. The season is currently on hold due to the MDHHS COVID-19 order, but they are hoping to see more success whenever they are able to play again.

“[The last two years] have been an unbelievable start to my career at Chelsea,” Lucas told the Chelsea Guardian in an interview about winning the award. “We have the best coaches, players, community, and administration in the state. It’s been the most fun in my coaching career. I just love being around the kids and our staff… this year has been challenging, but everyone involved has done a phenomenal job dealing with the challenges. I couldn’t be more proud of this team.”