Joe Woodruff has been hired to coach Zeeland East’s varsity football team.
Woodruff has replaced Derek Pennington, who coached the Chix the past 13 years before accepting the head coaching position at Caledonia in December.
“I am honored and humbled to carry on the proud tradition of Chix football,” Woodruff said in a press release. “I am eager to get started and begin the work needed for a seamless transition to the future of Zeeland East Football.”
Woodruff has over 25 years of coaching experience. He has coached at Lakeland High School in White Lake since 2015, guiding the Eagles to seven-win seasons in each of the past four years. Lakeland went 7-1 this past season and Woodruff was named Michigan High School Coaches Association Region 2 Coach of the Year.
Woodruff’s coaching career began at Okemos, where he served as a varsity assistant. He later served as a varsity head coach at Remus Chippewa Hills, Comstock Park, Port Charlotte High School in Florida, Greensboro Northwest Guilford High School in North Carolina and Big Rapids.
He will take over the reins of a Zeeland East program that went 4-3 this past fall before the season came to an end in the playoffs when the Chix had to forfeit due to coronavirus-related issues. The Chix have qualified for the playoffs in each of the past six seasons and 10 of the past 11. Zeeland East advanced to the state semifinals in 2018 before losing to Muskegon.
“Coach Woodruff has a proven history of excellence on the field, making positive impacts in the communities he has worked in and growing student-athletes that he has coached,” Zeeland East athletic director Josh Glerum said. “What truly set Joe apart is his strong character and academic experience as an outstanding teacher and leader in the schools he has served.”
from Joe Woodruff on Facebook:
The last couple of days has been a roller coaster for sure. I accepted the position as Head Football Coach at Zeeland East High School. The opportunity to come to Zeeland and the package that was placed in front of me was too good to pass up. It would be irresponsible of me as a father and husband not to take this job.
Yesterday I had to inform my people at Lakeland of my decision. That is an incredibly difficult and painful process. Todd Miller, Brigitte Knudson, and Matt Hamill are the best people to work for, and with. I will forever be thankful for Paul Gmelin, and Greg Michaels for bringing me to Lakeland.
To my staff at LHS, words cannot express my gratitude to you. We built a football program that we should be proud of. We fought the same battles and have the same scars from the fight. I will always Love and Respect you all. To the Lakeland community, thank you for your support.
Lastly, to the players at Lakeland, I’m sorry I have to leave, hopefully one day you will understand. The Lakeland Program WILL continue on and get better. I always tell my graduating players that “now I can stop being your coach, and now I can be your friend.”
If you ever need anything I am here for you. Call 336.509.5758 day or night and I will always be there for you all.
To the Zeeland East community, my family is honored and excited to start this new chapter. I look forward to building the same positive relationships with you all. Again, you may feel free to reach out at anytime. It is my goal to build on, and add to your already incredible program. That goal will take the commitment of all of us! I can’t wait to meet you all. God Bless and Go Chix!