LocalSportsJournal.comLegendary, Dan Homan, veteran Hesperia Community Schools coach, passed away on June 23. Homan was originally from Hesperia. He graduated from Hesperia and was an educator for over thirty years at Hesperia, teaching science at Hesperia High School. His sports achievements are numerous.
“Dan had a lot of back pain from a herniated disc and had lung problems. He was struggling to move around and got worse instead of better, ”commented Homan’s wife Eileen Homan. “It was sad to see him come down. Dan has fulfilled a more fulfilling life than most. He went there early before school started to help the kids and for so many years he was a coach all year round. Then he played baseball in the summer and for many years fastpitch softball. I feel like he lived a busy life even though it was cut short. He will be sorely missed, ”Ms. Homan said.
After graduating from Hesperia, Homan attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo in 1967-68 and played baseball. From there he moved on to Ferris State University (BS degree) and eventually to Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant where he obtained his Masters.
For the next thirty plus years, the veteran coach could be seen wandering the sidelines at Hesperia almost every day. Homan’s coaching career includes: Wrestling Coach (1978-1990) with a 183-18-1 record; Football coach (1971-2003) with a record 198-118; Softball coach (1981-2012) with a record of 320-245; Baseball coach (1971-1980); sports director (1979-1981); Varsity Club Advisor, Close-Up Advisor, Rocket Football Advisor and Freestyle Wrestling Advisor.
Freshman athletic director and Hesperia Community Schools educator Tony Grimard spoke about Hesperia’s longtime coach. “I taught and coached at Hesperia for 25 years, so I had the pleasure and honor of working with Dan for years.”
“Dan’s passing is a huge loss for the entire community of Hesperia. As a teacher, wrestling coach, softball coach or football coach, Dan has impacted so many lives here in Hesperia, Grimard said.
The athletic director continued, “The public outcry in support of Dan is a testament to the years Dan has devoted to helping young people. Dan will be forever remembered as a legendary figure in the history of Hesperia athletics.
Coach Homan’s accomplishments on the field would lead to a plethora of accolades over the course of his coaching career, none likely greater than his 1999 induction into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. , in which he received a plaque and ring by the Association and former University of Michigan football head coach Lloyd Carr. Homan was also inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Hall of Fame in 2011.
The longtime skipper also had excellent media relations. Recently, radio veteran Jon Russell opened up about his relationship with the legendary trainer of Hesperia. “When I started broadcasting sports shows at the WSHN in Fremont in the fall of 1986, Dan was part of the first group of coaches I developed a professional relationship with,” Russell said. “My wife (Arleen) was a graduate of Hesperia and knew Dan and Eileen, having had Dan as a teacher and Eileen as a counselor, so we had something in common with the Homan from the start.”
“Dan warned me that he never felt comfortable doing press interviews. He was a man of few words, but I quickly realized that the words he said were also worth listening to. Even though the interviews weren’t his favorite, he quickly felt comfortable enough with me to give me what I needed to know without a lot of ‘coaching talk’. He would give you an honest answer to an honest question.
Russell continued, “Dan was a team guy and this team included at home with Team Homan. Eileen and Dan were high school sweethearts and if Dan was causing an event you could bet Eileen was there to do her job. I remember many chilly fall evenings sharing a press window as Eileen filmed the games for Dan and she would even act as an observer for me calling out the names of tacklers if I missed anyone.
The longtime radio host concluded his comments about his coaching friend, talking about a letter he received from Homan, shortly after announcing his retirement as a football coach at Hesperia. “I knew Dan was nearing the end of his football coaching career and asked him to let me know when he was going to hang up because I would love to do a story about him for the local Newaygo County weekly, The Times Indicator I used to pick up certain stories and certainly felt that when the time came I wanted to be up to date.
“He told me he had the 15 minute rule. He said that was the time it took him to walk from his class to the administration office to say he had had enough. I got a call from Dan one morning. “Jon, I just invoked the 15 minute rule.” This is how I learned that he had retired as a football coach. Dan told me a great story that was published in the Times Indicator.
“A letter that I still cherish today,” said Russell. “In it, he told me how much our professional relationship meant to him and how much he enjoyed listening to the shows and tapes that I would make for him and the children as memories. He said the article I wrote made him cry and said he couldn’t thank me enough. Our hearts go out to Eileen and their daughters and family and indeed Panther Nation. The sky just got a little greener and whiter, ”said Russell.
Visitations were held at Crandell Funeral Homes in Fremont on Monday June 28 and Tuesday June 29, with funerals to follow. Instead of gifts, the family would ask you to contribute to the Dan and Eileen Homan Scholarship Fund of the Fremont Area Community Foundation. The fund was created by their daughters to help Hesperia High School student-athletes pursue their higher educational goals and honor Homan’s legacy of commitment to the community. The Foundation will provide up to $ 500 per donor household. Donate at www.danandeileen.org.
“I cannot express in words how I feel with the outpouring of support and love from so many. It was so upsetting to deal with the loss of Dan. I cannot thank you enough for being there for me and my family. It’s heartwarming to know that we have so many friends to count on. Thank you. We are blessed, ”said Eileen Homan.
Dan Homan is survived by his wife Eileen, four daughters and many relatives and friends.