Former Calumet football coach John Croze retirement celebration set for Copper Harbor on July 9

Calumet football head coach John Croze addresses the Copper Kings after they defeated Menominee 39-14 in an MHSAA Division 6 district final game on Nov. 9, 2019, in Calumet. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette file photo by Adam Niemi)

COPPER HARBOR — Longtime Calumet High School football coach and Ishpeming High School graduate John Croze will be honored at a retirement celebration on Saturday, July 9, in Copper Harbor.

The 1986 graduate of IHS coached for 31 years with the Copper Kings, including the last 22 as head coach, compiling a 143-71 record as head coach, a 69 percent winning record.

In April, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association, the lone Upper Peninsula inductee this year. In fact, his induction with that group is on Friday evening in the Detroit suburb of Southfield.

Croze’s father, the late John M. Croze, was a longtime coach at Ishpeming High School and served as an assistant varsity coach when the Hematites won their first state title in 1975 and head coach four years later in 1979 when they again won it.

Both father and son played football at Michigan Tech University in Houghton.

The Copper Harbor celebration will be held at the Harbor Haus’ event center, The Vue, adjacent to its restaurant.

Festivities begin at 5 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres followed by dinner and program.

Due to generous contributions from Calumet Copper King football alumni, there will be no charge to attend, though attendees are encouraged to make a donation in Croze’s honor at the door, according to a news release announcing the event. All donations will benefit the Copper Kings’ football program.

“Coach Croze’s contributions to the Calumet community are immeasurable,” new Calumet head football coach Josh Frantti said in the news release. “He dedicated over 30 years of his life to build a winning football culture in Calumet and positively influenced countless lives. The CHS football alumni want to recognize Coach Croze and thank him for all the great memories he helped create.”

“I was fortunate to coach alongside Coach Croze and see up close how much he cared about all of the players involved in the Calumet football program,” said George Twardzik, former CHS assistant football coach and owner of Harbor Haus, in the release. “My wife Lisa and I are excited to host the event and we have a spectacular evening planned for all attendees.”

Among the activities are a silent auction with sports memorabilia donated by NFL teams, in addition to door prizes.

A limited number of seats are available, the news release mentioned. For more information, email Frantti at jfrantti@clkschools.org.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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