Ostrowsky is finished

MARQUETTE – After the football season was completed in 2014, Northern Michigan University head coach Chris Ostrowsky used the word “finish” as his team’s slogan going into the following season after the majority of the Wildcats’ losses came in the fourth quarter.

Now, the word describes the end of Ostrowsky’s tenure as coach after his contract was not renewed by the NMU athletic department on Monday.

“I think this was just a review of where our football program is at this time and we decided this was time to make a change,” NMU President Fritz Erickson said.

In an email Monday evening, NMU athletic director Forrest Karr said the decision was made Sunday and was based on Ostrowsky’s win-loss record. He also said that the school and its now former coach parted amicably and that the school is working through the details of finishing any obligations to Ostrowsky.

In regard to the assistant coaches, Karr said that they will have an opportunity to interview with the new head coach. He also said that the search for a new coach will begin today and that he hoped to make a hire as quickly as possible.

“I am aware of several strong potential candidates, but there is no frontrunner,” Karr said. “This will be a national search to find the best fit for the program.”

The non-renewal of Ostrowsky’s contract came after the Wildcats finished a 3-8 season Saturday with a 56-7 blowout loss at Tiffin which included losses in each of the team’s final six games.

During the game against the Dragons, Northern’s defense gave up 609 yards in total offense, including 313 yards on the ground. The week before, the Wildcats fell to rival Michigan Tech 51-45 in double overtime, their seventh straight loss to the Huskies.

Northern finished 13th out of 14 GLIAC teams in points per game allowed with 40.2 and yards per game allowed with 502.

It was also last overall in rushing yards allowed per game with 294.5.

All in all, the Wildcats finished 164th in the nation among NCAA Division II teams in total defense out of 170 teams, including 168th in rushing defense.

Ostrowsky became head coach of the Wildcats in November 2011. Before that, he spent two seasons as NMU’s offensive coordinator and the previous three years as the quarterbacks coach-recruiting coordinator at Northeastern University.

While at NMU, Ostrowsky compiled a record of 18-36 overall and 15-35 in the GLIAC. His best season came in 2015 when the Wildcats finished 5-6 overall, 4-6 in the conference.

Karr says that the future vision for the football program is “consistent winning seasons” and that there is a plan in place to achieve it.

“Our department strategic plan has measurable benchmarks for success,” Karr said.

“We constantly try to address weaknesses in our programs. Specifically, in football, we increased scholarships to the NCAA Division II maximum three years ago, added a video board two years ago, and added a strength and conditioning coach last year.

“We are currently working to upgrade the weight room and also trying to find ways to make it more realistic for student-athletes to stay in Marquette over the summer.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.