Courtesy Photo by Matthew Bird
Bye Bye Birdie
Beloved grand Ledge Football coach Matthew Bird has stepped down, and is heading to Reeths-Puffer High School in Muskegon, MI
‘Family’ is the one word that can be used to perfectly describe Grand Ledge Football, a word that embodies Matthew Bird and everything he has done for our school and District.
Bird started his coaching career as an assistant at Lansing Eastern in 1993, and worked for the program through 1998. He helped the Quakers get to the playoffs during his tenure, a rare feature for the program. The next step for Bird was getting the job as an offensive coordinator in Grand Ledge. He was on staff when GL won our State Championship in 2000. He waited patiently for his opportunity and did just what he has emphasized and preached as a coach, he seized his opportunity. Bird took over as the head football coach in 2006, following the retirement of State Championship winner Pat O’Keefe. Bird led the Comets to a 88-43 record in thirteen seasons, which included six CAAC Blue Titles and a State Semifinal appearance in 2015.
It is a sad time for Comets of all ages, as Coach Bird is stepping down as Head Coach, and taking a position as an Athletic Administrator and Head Coach in Muskegon, MI at Reeths-Puffer High School. A job that will, without a doubt, let him shine as the great coach we all know him as.
Bird impacted his players and students not only on the field, but in the classroom. His teaching style oftentimes mirrored that of his coaching style; vocal, honest, and caring. He is a teacher that always cares about his students, he would bond with anybody. That is just how outgoing he is, he has an infectious personality that has affected those who have played for him.
“It’s very sad and I know that everyone loves him, and that it’s just going to be hard not having him around and just seeing him everyday,” junior Kavion Autrey said. “He was close with everybody, he was the greatest coach that I have had and will ever have, he has left an impact on my life that I can’t really explain. I’m really going to miss him, and he better do great things in Muskegon.”
Autrey has played for Bird for two years, as he was a Varsity starter as a sophomore, a rare feat for Grand Ledge football players.
There are even teachers that have been impacted immensely by Bird. Spanish teacher Vince Cook was not only a player for Bird, but he was also a student of his, and even coached alongside him for the past two seasons.
“I feel this is a great opportunity for [Bird] to start fresh in a new place and I know he has been looking for some different opportunities going forward for him and his family” Cook said. “I think it is going to be best for himself moving forward, and also for his son playing in Davenport, so I think that will be a good thing for him and his family to be close to Nolan while he is playing.”
Birds impact on those who have been around him has been immense.
“I am very grateful to coach Bird for the time that I have spent playing for him, that I had him as a teacher, had him as a coach and then teaching and coaching with him i’ve learned a lot from him and I am thankful that I have had him as a teacher, a coach, and a most importantly a friend. Best of luck to him and his family” Cook said.
What Matt Bird has done for his players on the field, off the field, and in school is immeasurable. The relationships he has made with students and players throughout the past thirteen years are inconceivable, a man who has had his face put upon t-shirts labeled ‘#BirdForPresident’ or ‘The Bird’s Nest’ referring to the student section at football games.
Bird is just someone who I could always count on for at least a couple of belly laughs from at practice. Or even screaming ‘NO’ at you for saying an outlandish answer to a US Government question, someone who loves everyone he is around. From a former player, I am so thankful for being coached and taught by you Bird, I know that you’ll do great, and I mean great things over at Reeths-Puffer. I wish you nothing but the best, and I love you Coach, forever and always.