Top of the heap: Ex-Gwinn star Dan Mettlach named head football coach at Michigan Tech

From left, mother Marti Mettlach, father Richard Mettlach Jr. and grandfather Richard Mettlach Sr. talk with then-Michigan Tech University quarterback Dan Mettlach after the Huskies' home game against Mercyhurst in Dan's senior season in the fall of 2004. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette file photo)

MARQUETTE — A Gwinn High School graduate will now be heading up the Michigan Tech football program.

2000 GHS graduate Dan Mettlach was named head coach of the Huskies on Tuesday as part of an announcement that the contract was not renewed for now-former head coach Steve Olson.

Mettlach joined the Tech football staff in January 2017 as the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach and later became associate head coach.

He was one of the top quarterbacks in Huskies’ history from 2001-04 and was named an All-American, the 2004 GLIAC Player of the Year and a two-time All-GLIAC selection.

“Our goal is to be successful in all aspects of the program both on and off the field,” MTU athletic director Suzanne Sanregret in the MTU announcement. “A quality football program is a valued part of Michigan Tech’s history, and we’re excited about the vision that Dan has to get us back to the top of the best NCAA Division II conference in the nation.

Michigan Tech quarterback Dan Mettlach, left, throws a pass during a game with the Huskies. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette file photo)

“Dan has the backing of our football alumni base and his pro-style offense has been effective at every one of his coaching stops.”

Mettlach thanked the MTU administration.

“It is an honor to be named the next head football coach at Michigan Technological University,” Mettlach said. “As a former student-athlete here myself, I am familiar with the tradition of excellence and integrity we strive for as a university and within our athletic programs, and I am excited to be able to contribute to that.

“Michigan Tech is an amazing place, and my wife and I couldn’t be happier to continue raising our family in this community. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Suzanne Sanregret for the opportunity to lead this program and am excited for what I feel we can accomplish moving forward.”

His honors at Gwinn High School were similar to those at MTU.

Gwinn's Dan Mettlach, front, runs during a game against Negaunee in high school days. (Journal file photo)

Mettlach was a three-time All-Mid-Peninsula Conference selection at quarterback, also earning league Player of the Year and All-Upper Peninsula Dream Team his senior year in the fall of 1999.

He totaled 3,479 yards and 42 touchdowns passing for the Modeltowners, while adding 1,173 yards and 25 more TDs rushing, all under the tutelage of his father and Gwinn head coach Dick Mettlach, Jr.

In his MTU playing days, Mettlach ranks fifth in school history in total offense with a combined total of 6,348 yards and 66 TDs. He is seventh overall in passing yards, completing 358 passes for 5,261 yards and 50 TDs. He helped guide the Huskies to a GLIAC championship and the program’s first trip to the NCAA tournament in 2004.

Before joining the coaching staff at Tech, he was assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Finlandia in nearby Hancock for its first three seasons of NCAA Division III football.

He also had a stop at Northern Michigan University from 2007-09, when he was a quarterbacks and wide receivers coach, strength and conditioning coach and academic coordinator.

Dan Mettlach

He also had coaching stops at now-former GLIAC member Hillsdale and Division III Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Huskies just wrapped up their 100th season of football this fall.

Olson was coming off his sixth season as Tech head coach and had a 23-29 overall record and 15-23 in the GLIAC, according to the MTU release.

Under Olson, the Huskies were honored 25 times with All-GLIAC first and second team awards, while Hayden Huttula, Nate LaJoie and Jacob Wenzlick were named All-Americans.

Olson was a defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Black and Gold for the six seasons prior to being named the 16th head coach in Huskies history in November 2016.

“Steve is a person of great integrity, and he has worked tirelessly to fulfill the mission of our athletic department and university,” Sanregret said in the news release. “He stepped in with big shoes to fill after Coach (Tom) Kearly retired, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

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


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