In Arizona, ex-Walled Lake Western coach Mike Zdebski ready to roll with adjusted schedule

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Mike Zdebski, who guided Walled Lake Western to the Division 1 state championship in 1999 and to the Division 2 title game in 2016, is entering his third year as head coach of Chandler Hamilton, near Phoenix.

While high school associations in surrounding states of Arizona have canceled football this fall, Zdebski said things are a go for his state.

Mike Zdebski

The season has been pushed back by three weeks in Arizona and Zdebski’s team has been forced to cancel a couple of premier games, including one against a San Diego school and another against a Las Vegas school, but he is thrilled to still be coaching.

“Everything is in-state for us; we removed the out-of-state games and I’m glad we did that early on,” Zdebski told The Detroit News on Monday. “We’re not going to practice until August 17th, so that put us three weeks back from our original start date. So right now they’re talking about our first game on September 11th and then take those three games (that were scheduled early in the season) and put them on the back of the schedule, then instead of having 16-team brackets for the state tournament, knocking it down to eight-team brackets where we’ll still finish in the first week of December.”

More: NFHS director says Michigan, other states need to be flexible in starting fall sports

Zdebski said Chandler Hamilton teachers go back to school Wednesday.

“We start online on August 5th and then they’re looking at August 17th when kids come to school if they choose to do that,” Zdebski said. “(Students) can go 100 percent online, 100 percent in the building or a blend.”

Zdebski said he has had one player test positive for COVID-19.