Varner looking to build on the Hatchet boys’ footballing success

Matt Varner, the Bad Axe’s new boys football coach, is no stranger to success.

He was with the team for its run of four consecutive district titles, as an assistant under Adam Sutherland, who resigned after last season.

“I’m going to be incredibly busy,” Varner said, as he also coaches the women’s soccer team. “But I love football. It’s my passion. I like to share this passion with children and I try to make them love the sport I play.”

“We will try to bring our regular-level competitive football,” added Varner. “We lost seven seniors last year and 10 seniors the year before. We are looking to rebuild, reconfigure the roster and come out with our same competitive football that Bad Ax is known for.”


Varner said there aren’t too many differences between coaching boys and girls in football. However, with the loss of 17 seniors over the past two seasons, there will be adjustments.

“With the boys’ team, you can go back to basics a bit,” he said. “We will be a young team this year. We will spend more time bringing everyone to the level we need to progress further in our game.”

“I’m looking forward to working with the boys this year,” he added. “We look forward to continuing the legacy of the Bad Ax football program.”

Bad Ax superintendent Greg Newland said hiring Varner to coach the boys football was an easy decision.

“Matt served as an assistant coach in the men’s program under Adam Sutherland,” he said. “He has this coaching experience with football, he has the leadership to lead the program on the girls’ side. It was an easy decision, and it will be a very smooth transition.”

Newland said under Sutherland, and now under Varner, the Hatchets are one of Thumb’s elite programs.

“That should not be questioned,” he said. “We want to keep the competitiveness at a high level. We’ll see if that translates into titles in the future. Off the pitch, we have to make sure we have great student-athletes who represent our school. I have a lot of confidence in Matt kicks in. I know he will do a fantastic job like he did on the girls side.

According to Newland, coaching is a 12-month-a-year sport. For Varner, it will be all football seemingly all year.

“Traditionally it’s only been a few years since we had two separate football coaches,” Newland said. “Fall (boys) and spring (girls) sports help with that. Planning things out of season will seem to be doubled. A lot of those things work hand in hand anyway.”

“When Adam had the two programs, a lot of things were planned,” Newland added. “That off-season work is paying off. It’s been seen on the pitch in recent years.”

Newland said as a school district, there should be a plan for assistants or JV coaches to take over for a smooth transition.

“That’s what we’re trying to do,” he said. “That’s what I think most schools try to do. It’s not always the case, but we’ve been lucky to have someone we’re comfortable climbing the ladder with. .”

“I’m thrilled for Matt, and I know he’s thrilled to lead both programs,” he added. “We will continue to be one of Thumb’s elite programs.”

Varner hopes to build on the successes of Bad Ax football over the past few years.

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