By Jared Greenleaf
Sports Editor, @CDTjared
Posted May 14, 2020 at 12:12 PM
Q: In terms of interviewing coaches in the past, who’s the most unique coach you’ve ever talked to?
Grisdale: I have been very fortunate to have had great relationships with most of our high school coaches. Anytime I have asked for information, or an interview, they are more than willing to provide the time. Same goes for our athletic directors. They all appreciated the opportunity to talk about their players and their teams’ efforts. Coach Jack Coon was a natural when it came to an interview and enjoyed the chance to embellish the moment, while asking me what I saw out on the field. Barry Salter might not smile much on the sidelines, but he had a great sense of humor and it was hard to get him to stop talking during an interview about his team’s defense. Rick Swiderek was always ready to come on the air after a game and appreciated the opportunity to talk about his players. I had a special appreciation for a couple of coaches who I saw play for the Chiefs and then became great coaches and teachers in Cheboygan. I admired football coach Dave Schulz and basketball coach Jason Purcell for being great examples of what the athletic program is all about. Ken Herman was probably one of the most intense coaches that Cheboygan has had. While he was hockey coach and assistant football coach, it always felt like he was giving a pregame speech when he came on Coaches Corner. The same goes for when he spoke at a pep assembly. Basketball coach Craig Taylor was a joy to interview. He had a calm demeanor and was very analytical. He was also one of my favorites at Coaches Corner when we would broadcast live from the Family House Restaurant and I would ask him a simple question about the game, then hand him the microphone while I went through the breakfast bar! But, some of my greatest memories was being able to interview football coach Irv Sigler, especially since I had played for him in high school. He helped start the Chief football tradition and was determined to convey that when he spoke, whether it was before or after a game, school pep assembly, or when he held court Saturday mornings at Coaches Corner. He entertained us with those unique phrases, had that special knack for storytelling and could motivate anyone who wanted to believe.
Q: Who were some of the other people you would like to recognize regarding your radio career?
Grisdale: First of all, my family. Doing these games and working these odd hours requires time away from home. I couldn’t do it without my family buying into that lifestyle. Besides the people I mentioned above, there have been several friendships developed through the years. In the press box, Steve Chimner, Joe Kwiatkowski, Rick Swiderek, Jason Friday, Scott Hancock, and Thom Wissner have been part of many entertaining broadcasts and road trips. Sports writers like yourself, Andy Sneddon, Marc Opferman, Steve Foley and David Latva were always willing to share insights and offer encouragement. Fellow announcers, including Mike Fornes, Nate Rose, Dave Watson, Don Howe, Kevin Baller, Ed Paquin, and Tim Treadway have all shared advice and offered to help out when needed. My fellow radio station teammates have assisted with technical expertise and selling/producing commercials that allow the games to get on the air, such as Shawn Sheldon, Greg Fletcher, Nascar Steve, Rob Duffiney, Bill Clouser, Gary Engle, Joni Reed, and of course, Del Reynolds. I would also like to recognize Jim and Mary Taggart, two of the most dedicated, loyal Cheboygan Chief fans I have ever known. Jim was a longtime statistician for the football team, former school board member and talented artist who developed that first Chiefs logo in the 1970s. I also called on him many times at games to help with telephone line issues. He saved many a broadcasts for us! And, I can’t remember the Taggarts ever missing a Coaches Corner at the Riverside or Family House Restaurant. They were usually the first ones there when I was setting up. Jim would help me review the scores and Mary would make sure my coffee cup was always full. Most of all, thank you to the listeners and commercial sponsors over the years that have allowed us to continue the broadcasts.
Q: This pandemic has been a difficult time for all of us. You told me you work at Mackinac Straits Health System. Describe what it’s been like working up there over these past two months or so.
Grisdale: Jared, I don’t know it all, but I have learned about perspective. Sports has been a big part of my life. Whether it’s being a fan, broadcasting games, being an official, or being a parent, I have had an opportunity to enjoy so many aspects of it. The excitement, the tradition, the thrills and yes, the disappointments all add up to make it a great learning experience. I can honestly say that has carried over into other parts of my life. At different times in our lives there are highs and lows, stress and relief, joys and sorrows. We can’t control everything. How we react is how we grow as a person. I am privileged to work two jobs that I truly enjoy, but also have great responsibility. With radio, I am proud to provide information that can help them and maybe entertain them. In healthcare, providing information to help people live a better life has a lot of rewards. Working to raise money to support our staff and patients gives me an amazing amount of gratitude. Yes, this current crisis is difficult for all of us. As uncertain and challenging these times are, I hope all of us can find those special moments that keep us going, whether it’s nicer weather, a special thank you, or a chance to rediscover the simpler things in life.
Q: At some point we will return to normalcy, but who knows when. Are you optimistic that you’ll be calling football games for the Cheboygan Chiefs this fall?
Grisdale: I would like to think we can get back to some kind of normalcy in the near future. However, getting back to the way things used to be might take a little bit longer. Yes, I would be disappointed if we didn’t have Chief football this fall. But, to me, it’s not just about football. The importance of having extracurricular school activities is to get students involved in a wide variety of things. These programs are definitely an extension of the classroom! There are all kinds of athletic programs that can provide learning and wonderful memories. Don’t forget about the music programs, theater productions, DECA, etc. They all play the same role. These programs are even more important in a small community like ours. The schools are able to bring the community together in so many ways. My heart goes out to the students who missed out several weeks of memories with fellow classmates, and especially the high school seniors and their families who weren’t able to take part in all those great traditions. My hope is that schools bring much of this back, at least at some level in the near future.♦