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‘It still doesn’t feel real’: Grumke named new Bayfield football coach

Wife’s ties to Durango brings young Missouri coach to Wolverines
Relationships with players is what drives Ethan Grumke in the high school coaching profession. He has been named the new head coach of Bayfield High School football.

Bayfield High School didn’t take long to find its new head football coach.

Following the retirement of Gary Heide, Bayfield School District posted the open position on its website Feb. 4. Within days, Bayfield had landed on Ethan Grumke as the man for the job.

“I looked up Bayfield’s stats and saw they have been very successful, and coach Heide leaves big shoes to fill,” Grumke said. With two state championships in the last five years, it was a humbling experience for me to have the opportunity to even interview for the position. To be honest, I didn’t think I would get it. I interviewed, was myself and wasn’t expecting big things out of it. I am beyond blessed and very thankful they have given me this opportunity.”

Grumke will arrive in Bayfield from Oak Grove, Missouri, where he has been an assistant coach working with defensive backs, linebackers and wide receivers. He also is Oak Grove High School’s head track and field coach.

After receiving his new Bayfield High School Wolverines gear, new football coach Ethan Grumke is representing his new team while finishing his teaching and coaching duties this year in Oak Grove Missouri.

He is a 2013 graduate of Blue Springs High School in Missouri, where he played wide receiver and defensive back. A product of Kansas City, Grumke played defensive back at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri.

It was Evangel where he met his wife, Lauren McMunn, a 2013 graduate of Durango High School who was a track star for the Demons. She is also interested in coaching track for the Wolverines.

“The reason Bayfield came up is because my wife is actually from the Durango area,” Grumke said. “We are both teachers and coaches. I wanted to slowly trickle up the ladder and take on more roles coaching, and Lauren wanted to move back to Colorado. She had mountain fever, and I was not against moving to Colorado because I love it there. Bayfield happened to have a math teacher position open, which is what I accepted for a teaching position. Hearing their football coach was retiring, I went ahead and applied, and the rest is history.”

Grumke has spent the majority of his coaching career on the defensive side of the ball. BHS also lost beloved defensive coordinator Mike Wnorowski to retirement after the 2020 season. Grumke reached out to Heide after being offered the job to start picking the former coach’s brain and to learn more about the returning Wolverines players. He also has had conversations with a few Bayfield players who will be seniors next season.

Ethan Grumke, left, has spent several years coaching defensive backs and wide receivers in high school. Now, he will get his first football head coaching chance at Bayfield High School.

“For me, coaching is all about the relationships with the kids. The game of football comes second,” Grumke said. “Personally, I believe you reach more kids and get more turnout and have a great time if you focus on the players as people first instead of as machines.

“As far as my scheme goes, I want to have fun, score a lot and attack. We want to do things that will put pressure on our opponents and force them to make decisions they don’t want to make very quickly.”

Heide spent nine seasons at BHS and went 67-24 overall. His teams won two state championships in 2015 and 2017, made four semifinals appearances and won five league championships.

Like Grumke, Heide also was new to Bayfield when he was hired in the small community, initially raising eyebrows before going on to have great success.

After once again looking to the outside for a new head coach, the Wolverines will hope for similar success with Grumke, who aims to arrive in the area in June after he finishes his duties as a track and field coach and teacher this school year at Oak Grove High School.

“I am extremely excited to be a Wolverine,” Grumke said. “It still doesn’t feel real, but I am excited to get into this spot and form good relationships with the kids while we look to continue to have success.”

jlivingston@durangoherald.com

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