Fowler athletic director Kris Ernst has seen the re-establishment of the Fowler football program as an assistant under Craig Koenigsknecht.
Since being named the new coach in late December following Koenigsknecht’s resignation, Ernst is looking to continue what he saw from his predecessor.
“I was able to learn a lot from him, learning of the tradition of Fowler football with (Koenigsknecht) being a grad himself and the glory years of the 90s,” Ernst said. “He was able to really build this back up. The kids played hard for him and he was able to motivate the kids to do something special and return success to Fowler and hopefully we can just continue it. He did what (former Fowler coach) Steve Spicer did and modeled a lot of what we did around that, and we’re not going to change that.”
Ernst, who is in his third year as the Fowler athletic director, was an assistant for current Lansing Catholic coach Jim Ahern at Ithaca in 2002 and was the head coach at East Jordan High School from 2003-05.
Ernst amassed a record of 13-15 in three seasons at East Jordan and reached the state playoffs in his first year at the school.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Ernst said. “I’ve taken a couple years being an assistant coach and getting used to the tradition. It just kind of fell into place, and I had the support of people around me.”
Koenigsknecht, who played at Fowler from 1991-93, finished with a record of 29-6 in his three years as coach of the varsity. He led Fowler to the Division 8 state final in 2011 and the Eagles won the CMAC in 2010 and 2012.
“The multitude of memories will be there forever. I got to experience things that a lot of people don’t. I just had great kids that believed in our system and worked hard and I kind of got to go along for the ride as they put forth the effort,” Koenigsknecht said after stepping down to spend more time with his family.
The three-year run for Koenigsknecht came after a period from 2004-09 when the Eagles had just one winning season and missed the playoffs twice.
“I think they’re definitely in a good position,” Koenigsknecht said. “They’ll continue on the Fowler football tradition and I look forward to being able to look on from the stands and maybe have a little less pressure on me on Friday nights next year.”