On the field and in the classroom: Teachers that are coaches

Dianne Ro, Editor-in-Chief

Name: Mr. Messing

Teaches: Algebra and Geometry

Coaches: Head JV Girls’ Basketball, Freshman Football Assistant, and JV Baseball Assistant

Started coaching: First year of teaching in 2006; coached 8th grade boys basketball at West Middle School

Plays: Pick-up basketball once a week with other teachers; slow-pitch softball; golf in the summer

Favorite thing about coaching? “Helping to make young men and women better players and people. I also like getting to know the students outside the classroom. Some students are very different in class as compared to on the court.”

Why do you take on both roles as a teacher and coach? “I remember how my teachers and coaches have influenced me throughout my life so I wanted to give back in both capacities.”


Name: Mr. Eustice

Teaches: IB Math Studies SL, Pre-Calculus, Algebra, and Geometry

Coaches: Boys’ JV Golf and Girls’ Varsity Golf; Coached Baseball and Football in the past

Started coaching:  In 1990-1991 as a JV assistant Baseball Coach with Jim Stevenson and Dave Joppie

Plays: In competitive adult hockey leagues; golf when able; hunting and fishing

Favorite thing about coaching? “I love working with kids in and out of the classroom and I love to see kids grow and excel at something they truly enjoy doing. Its very exciting to see kids make great plays and/or shots during athletic events.”

Why do you take on both roles as a teacher and coach? “I am very competitive and I love all aspect of sports. Also, I had wonderful coaches/teachers when I grew up who were very influential in developing and instilling confidence in me. Sports provided me with a lot of different opportunities to accomplish wonderful things. Coaching and teaching are so similar. I coach like I teach and I teach like I coach. Sport and coaching are educational settings regardless of where they are played. I want kids to have some of the same experiences I had while playing athletics. Plus, becoming a teacher allowed me to become a coach in the same building/district.”


Name: Mr. Andrews

Teaches: Health and Personal Finance

Coaches: Head Baseball Coach at PN; his child’s travel baseball and rocket football teams

Started coaching: Started coaching at Loy Norrix back in 1994 (JV Baseball and Freshmen Football); head baseball coach at PN in 2001

Plays: Golf, bowling, and  just recently stopped playing baseball

Favorite thing about coaching? “I love forming relationships with the players.”

Why do you take on both roles as a teacher and coach? “I loved playing sports and school, so what better profession than teaching and coaching!”


Name: Mrs. Pittman

Teaches: IB 20th Century, Ancient World History, and Modern American History.

Coaches: Freshman volleyball coach

Started coaching: Ten years

Plays: “I play in a dodgeball league in the winter and a kickball league in the summer…it gets pretty competitive.  Right now I am also coaching an AAU travel volleyball team.”

Favorite thing about coaching? “I love being able to work with players towards reaching a common goal and seeing their hard work pay off over the course of the season. The idea is to “have fun, while working hard”; my team worked extremely hard this season and I don’t think there was single practice where we also didn’t laugh and have fun.”

Why do you take on both roles as a teacher and coach? “I was really excited to coach a team at Portage Northern! I love any opportunity to work with students outside of the classroom and to get to know students that I may not have in any of my classes.”


Name: Mr. Furlong

Teaches: Health, Freshman Focus, Family Soc

Coaches: Head Football, Head Wrestling

Started coaching: 2013

Plays: Golf, running, basketball

Favorite thing about coaching? “When kids have an ‘Ah-hah’ moment and start catching onto the sport.”

Why do you take on both roles as a teacher and coach? “Because it’s my greatest passion in life, and one chance to give back to kids in two realms.”


Name: Mr. Schermerhorn

Teaches: Power Training, Individual and Dual Sports, Advanced Basketball

Coaches: Varsity Football, Power Lifting

Started coaching: 1986

Plays:  “My age dictates that most of the sports that I currently participate in are recreational in nature. I do enjoy staying physically fit.”

Favorite thing about coaching? “Helping groups of young people come together and work hard towards achieving a common goal.”

Why do you take on both roles as a teacher and coach? “My father was my coach growing up and he instilled in me a great passion for what I do.”