Clare’s Luplow wins 200th
If you have been waiting for a return call from Clare football coach Kelly Luplow, be patient. He will get to you, but it might take awhile.
“I got some water tossed on me Friday night, and I ruined my phone,” Luplow said this week. “So I was over in Mt. Pleasant trying to get my phone fixed. Doggone cell phones.”
The reason Luplow had water dumped on him following Clare’s 21-0 victory over Beaverton? It was career victory No. 200 in his illustrious 28-year career.
“It means I’ve been coaching for 50 years,” Luplow said, laughing. “It means a lot. It’s something that I never anticipated. To be honest, I never anticipated coaching for this long.
“Every year the love of the game gets stronger. Of course, I have a wife and triplets that grew up with football, and they love it. It means a lot to all of us. It’s a family affair.”
Luplow is 200-81 with 15 Jack Pine Conference titles, including eight straight and 13 in the past 15 years. He also has guided Clare to 19 state playoff appearances.
Luplow notched victory No. 100 against Beaverton in 2002, which means Clare’s game against Beaverton in 2028 could be his 300th victory.
“I’m not planning on that, but you know what, it’s kind of fun, who knows what’s going to happen,” he said. “I can’t imagine 300, good grief. That isn’t why I coach, but it’s nice to hit this milestone.”
Great hire for T.C. West
Traverse City West is adding a little Leland magic to its girls basketball program. Rebecca (Glass) McKee, who played for her father, Larry Glass, on the first of Leland’s three consecutive state championship teams in the early 1980s, is the school’s new coach.
“My father was probably the Leland magic,” McKee said. “I don’t think when Dad was coaching that he thought we were magical. He just knew he had some people who really loved to play the game.
“So, I guess I’m looking for those people who really love to play the game because then it all takes care of itself.”
McKee played at Michigan State, then coached at Caledonia before becoming an assistant at Western Michigan and head coach at College of Mt. St. Joseph.
She coached the Leland girls for one season in 2011-12 and has coached at lower levels for years.
She comes from a family of coaches besides her father, who was the men’s head coach at Northwestern in the 1960s. Her brother Mike is girls basketball coach at Caledonia, and sister Laurie is the hugely successful volleyball coach at Leland.
West has had one of the better programs in the northern part of the state, and McKee hopes that continues.
“The first day I worked with three of them and they were ready to go, and I’m impressed with what the coach had done before,” she said. “They’re pretty sound.
“This is not a rebuild. But in the sense that we lost eight starters and they won the conference outright, the team is going to have to do some compensation to make up for that.”
Although her father is not technically an assistant coach, McKee is pleased he will be around the team. “He’s very excited for the season to start,” she said. “He’s not my assistant, he’s my guru. He’s already asked for the schedule.”
Coach of the week
Jenison’s Steve Uganski is this week’s Lions coach of the week. Last week, Jenison upset undefeated East Kentwood, 28-7, to improve to 3-2.
The three victories exceed Jenison’s win total for the previous three seasons combined. This is Uganski’s 17th year in coaching and his second year as head coach at Jenison, his alma mater.
— Mick McCabe
McCabe: Jenison’s Uganski the right man for job at home