Houghton’s Borree resigns, Bonacorsi set to take over football program

HOUGHTON — Citing family reasons, along with being comfortable with how much the program has turned around in his five-year tenure, Karl Borree decided the timing was right to step down as Houghton’s head football coach.

Frank Bonacorsi, an assistant on Borree’s staff, and the JV coach since 2013, will take over as the Gremlins’ head coach in 2017.

“It sounds cheesed up, but I want to spend time with my family,” said Borree, who has a daughter who will be a junior this year and a son about to enter his first year of high school. “My daughter only has two more years then she’s off to college, so I want to spend time with her.

“This way, I can also go to all my son’s games. And when I was younger, I went to a lot of college games, so I want to be able to take him to Badger and Packer games, and we can’t do that if I’m coaching.

“I had a lot of fun. (Superintendent) Doreen Klingbeil always gave me really good support. We had awesome support from the parents and the parents were excellent. I couldn’t ask for more. The kids were great.”

Borree, who went 18-28 (.391) in his five years as head coach, let athletic director Bruce Horsch and Klingbeil know that he planned on resigning in May.

“It did catch me by surprise because we didn’t discuss it or anything,” Horsch said. “I understand he wants to spend time watching his children. I really appreciate where he took the program and the dedication that he had in running the football program.”

Before Borree’s arrival in 2012, Houghton was a combined 16-73 (.179) since 2012.

After Borree’s first season, where the Gremlins went 2-7, Borree led the Gremlins to its first playoff appearance since 2001 with a 6-3 regular season record and the program’s first win over the Calumet Copper Kings since the 2001 playoff season. Borree’s teams also fared well in the annual Copper Bowl, going 4-1 before last year’s 20-18 defeat to the Hancock Bulldogs.

But Borree cites the first win as a head coach as one of the most memorable. Following a seven-game losing streak to start the 2012 season, Houghton recorded a 50-0 victory over the Baraga Vikings on Oct. 12. That’s when Borree believed the mentality in the program began to change, setting up a playoff berth in the following season.

“The first time we won a game, the players realized we could beat teams and it had nothing to do with the past or history,” Borree said. “The rest of the wins were all good, but the first game we won was a lot of fun.

“The program is pretty good where they can win consistently. In order to take it to the next level, they need to get more coaches involved that are teachers, so they can get more players involved. But we got the program to a point of respectability to where they have a chance to win every game.”

As a high school social studies teacher, Bonacorsi fits Borree’s mold as a teacher-coach. In addition to his teaching experience, Bonacorsi’s familiarity with the football program since 2013 made him a logical candidate as Borree’s replacement.

“It was a natural progression for Frank to give him the opportunity,” Horsch said. “It’s nice to have coaches in the building. It doesn’t always happen, and it’s not the end all, be all, but they see the kids on a regular basis, so that’s nice, too.”