Rod Oden stepping down as East English football coach

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Rod Oden has announced his resignation as head football coach at Detroit East English, saying he plans to explore several other coaching and teaching opportunities, including one in Lexington, Kentucky.

Oden has guided East English’s football program since 2012 when the school opened its doors. He had a 46-20 record and five state playoff appearances, earning district titles in 2012 and again 2015.

East English had an unbeaten regular season before a loss to Detroit King in the PSL championship game at Ford Field, finishing 9-2 with another loss to King in the district final.

Oden had been at Detroit Crockett for 12 years prior to East English, including the last seven as head coach before the school closed in 2012.

It was at Crockett where Oden coached Brandon Graham who went on to play at Michigan, then helped the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl earlier this month in Minneapolis with Oden and his wife in the stands.

More: Oden in stands as pupil Graham delivers ‘Super’ heroics

“I’ve had offers in the past and didn’t check into them,” Oden said. “I’ve received several calls since the end of the season and I want to pursue them, not only for coaching, but also for upward mobility in education.

“I wanted to make sure to tell my administration, didn’t want to hold the program hostage, wanted them to get their guy in place,” Oden said. “I’ll be interviewing next week for multiple job while on mid-winter break, including one in Lexington, Kentucky and then my wife and I will decide what’s best for us.”

Oden is also an English and Language arts teacher at East English.

Oden is one of several high-profile coaches who have stepped down after the season, starting with Tim Baechler at Canton in November after winning 208 career games, including 172-53 in his 20 years at Canton with 17 state playoff appearances and a Division 1 state final appearance at Ford Field in 2005.

Then, Romeo co-head coach Jason Couch resigned in January to take over as head coach at Alma College. Couch helped guide Romeo to the Division 1 state championship in 2015.

Mike Zdebski, 52, resigned as head coach at Walled Lake Western last month, accepting the head coaching job at Chandler Hamilton in Arizona. Zdebski is finishing his 30th year as a teacher in the Walled Lake school district and is set to retire as a teacher.

Zdebski, who led Western to 160 wins, five state semifinal appearances, a 1999 Division 1 state championship and a Division 2 state runner-up spot in 2016, was inducted into the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame last year.

Zdebski and his wife traveled to Phoenix on Friday afternoon. He is expected to interview dozens of applicants for assistant positions on his staff Saturday.

Oden is expected to interview for Zdebski’s former position at Western, along with a few other jobs next week.