Kalkaska’s Thelen Departing for Saginaw Heritage
KALKASKA – After one year as Kalkaska’s varsity football coach, Justin Thelen is on the move.
Thelen, who is also an English teacher at Kalkaska High School, recently accepted the varsity football coaching position at Saginaw Heritage. The Blazers went 0-9 in Thelen’s lone campaign in 2019.
“It was unexpected and not something I really anticipated by any means, but very, very fortunate to have worked with everyone that I did work with here,” Thelen said. “Obviously we didn’t see the tangible results that we wanted to in year one, but we saw a ton of growth. Very, very proud of a lot of the work that’s been done laying the foundation for success that I think is undoubtedly on its way.”
Thelen takes over a Heritage program that went 4-5 in 2019.
He was one of 20 candidates for the position and will work alongside former Kalkaska athletic director Justin Thornington, who is in his first year as Saginaw Township Community Schools District athletic director.
A 2017 Alma College graduate, Thelen was a three-year starter and two-time captain at defensive back and earned All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors.
Prior to his teaching position at Kalkaska, Thelen served as a defensive backs coach at NCAA Division III Manchester (Ind.) University in 2018 and Anderson (Ind.) University in 2017.
Before his collegiate career, Thelen was a quarterback and defensive back at Pewamo-Westphalia and led the Pirates to the 2011 MHSAA Division 7 state title game.