Greg Vargas is also getting a shot at his dream job as the new varsity head coach of the Fruitport Trojans. Just like Brady, Vargas would be willing to walk to Fruitport to accept his new post. The difference is, Vargas wouldn’t have far to go.
That’s because he’s always been a Fruitport man. He was born and raised in Fruitport, graduated from Fruitport High School in 1993, and after a college career at Grand Valley State University, moved back to Fruitport, where he’s taught and coached for the last 13 years.
Vargas takes over for Hall of Fame coach Steve Wilson, who led the Trojans for 23 years before stepping down in early November.
“In 1997, my junior year at Grand Valley, I started coaching eighth grade,” Vargas recalls. “I asked Steve if I could come out and work with the kids. The year after that, another coach left and I moved up, then the next year, another coach left and I moved up again.”
That allowed Vargas to coach the same class of athletes for three straight years. It just so happens that that class was the group that, as seniors, took Fruitport all the way to the Division 3 state finals.
Vargas eventually coached at the junior varsity level for five years before taking over as a varsity assistant. He took 2010 off from coaching after the birth of his third child, then was named the defensive coordinator on Wilson’s varsity staff in 2011. That position opened up when Hall of Fame coach Larry Rueger passed away before the season started.
“I kept asking Steve if I could move up. I always wanted to move up,” Vargas said. “So I did, three years as a varsity assistant coaching o-line, d-line and special teams. Then two years ago, after my son, Greyson, was born, I took a year off. I had to get my priorities straight. I had to make sure I was spending time on the stuff I truly loved and truly valued. That refocused me, re-engergized me.”
Vargas, who was a two-way star at Fruitport in the early 1990s, has learned from some fantastic mentors over the years.
“Steve Horodyski came on our staff three years or so ago, and I got a chance to learn a ton from him,” Vargas said. “Then with Larry Rueger as a Hall of Fame coach and with Steve as a Hall of Fame coach, I had a very unique mentorship. I’ve been able to learn under a great head coach how to run a superb program.”
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