Thirty-one years after he returned to Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes to serve as an assistant to Head Coach Mike Boyd, Assistant Coach Joe Seeterlin, 55, is now alongside Boyd in the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) Hall of Fame.
Seeterlin was one of 14 Hall of Fame inductees honored at the MHSFCA’s Induction Banquet at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Ann Arbor on Saturday, March 26.
University of Michigan Head Football Coach Brady Hoke was the keynote speaker for the event.
Seeterlin said he was somewhat surprised when he received the news.
“I’ve been coaching for 31 years and I had the qualifications, but they don’t give this honor out lightly,” Seeterlin said.
He added that he also received a phone call from Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio congratulating him.
Mike Boyd, a Hall of Famer himself who will coach his 46th season for Our Lady in 2011, said Seeterlin deserves the honor.
“We put him up for the nomination and it’s been in the works and it’s great that he got it,” Boyd said.
It was a journey that Seeterlin began as a student at Our Lady in 1970 when he tried out for the football team.
“He came in as a little freshman and I was looking for a center,” Boyd said. “Old Joe stepped out and he weighed about 150 pounds or less. But, he was a four-year starter because he showed that he wanted to play ball.”
Upon graduation in 1974, Seeterlin began working for General Motors, where he was employed for 30 years, and even earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Detroit Mercy.
Seeterlin also got into coaching by working with the Lake Orion Lancers in the Waterford Youth Football League in the 1970s.
However, the Our Lady gridiron would soon come calling again for Seeterlin in 1980 at the age of 24.
“Dick Oliver’s son and my sister’s boyfriend were over and they thought it would be a good idea for me to coach because Our Lady’s line coach had left to become the principal at Waterford Kettering,” Seeterlin said.
Boyd said that Seeterlin then approached him and asked if he needed help and Boyd put him to work coaching the linemen.
“He knows the Lakes traditions and what we want. He’s a good go-between with me and the ballplayers,” Boyd said.
Over time, Seeterlin took over as defensive coordinator and he said not much has changed over the years.
“I was very impressed with Boyd. He hasn’t changed his ways; we run the same plays and call them the same way,” he said.
It’s a formula that has proven successful given that during Seeterlin’s tenure (260-84), the Lakers have posted 22 straight winning seasons, six Detroit Catholic High School League Prep Bowl victories and 16 Catholic League championships.
Most impressively, Our Lady currently has a streak of 14 straight state playoff appearances dating back to 1997 and has racked up 15 district titles, eight regional titles and three state finals appearances during Seeterlin tenure.
He added that the proudest moment of his career came when Our Lady won the 2002 Division 8 state championship.
Seeterlin has also had the opportunity to coach his two younger brothers and his two sons while at Our Lady.
In the meantime, Seeterlin is looking forward to becoming a grandfather in April, as well as the start of football practice in August.
He attributes his success to the Our Lady student-athletes carrying on the tradition of being ready to play.