West Bloomfield names Tyrice Grice, longtime defensive coordinator, new football coach

David Goricki
The Detroit News

West Bloomfield athletic director Eric Pierce did not have to look far for his next head football coach.

Tyrice Grice was alongside Ron Bellamy the past eight years, helping Bellamy build one of the top programs in the state.

Tyrice Grice will lead the West Bloomfield football program.

When Bellamy departed to become an assistant coach under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan last month after guiding West Bloomfield to its first Division 1 state championship, Pierce was impressed with the job Grice did as the team’s defensive coordinator in the 41-0 win over then-defending state champion Davison at Ford Field.

Pierce said the candidate pool was loaded, starting at 22 and narrowing the field in interviews to eight, then a final three with the 53-year-old Grice, who has 26 years of coaching experience, always leading the pack.

West Bloomfield competed for the Division 1 state title in two of the last four years and Grice’s defense was always at its best, falling to Oakland Activities Association Red rival Clarkston in the 2017 championship game, 3-2, and then last month’s impressive performance, allowing just 167 yards of total offense while forcing two turnovers.

West Bloomfield allowed just 57 points in the six-game postseason run with the bulk of the points coming in a thrilling 35-34 overtime semifinal win over No. 1 Belleville.

“Coach Grice has been with us for eight years and in the eight years he’s helped to develop our program and develop the culture here at West Bloomfield High School, he’s had a big role in it,” Pierce said. “As you can see from our success that we had this year, a lot of it was stemmed from the excellent defense that we have, and Coach Grice has served as defensive coordinator with us for all those years.

“He’s extremely knowledgeable of the game, puts people in the right positions, has a lot of energy and enthusiasm and is passionate about helping our players succeed. He really wants to help them in achieving their dreams of making it to the next level and playing and continuing their academic and athletic careers at the intercollegiate levels.”

Grice is excited with the opportunity to lead West Bloomfield’s program.

“Ron had been there for two years when I came on board and he asked me if I could bring my own staff with me so I brought in three or four guys and we concentrated on the defensive side of the ball," Grice said. "And he told me, ‘I want you to build a great defense at all three levels,’ and that’s what we did and we just built it from there.

“It’s been exciting and I’m looking forward to the new chapter of West Bloomfield football and build on the legacy that Bells put in place and put my own spin to it. We’re going to continue doing what we’re doing, fine-tuning, getting better in certain areas, but the staff is in place in all three levels so that shouldn’t be a problem."

Grice and his staff have developed elite talent in the past few years, including linebacker Lance Dixon of Penn State, who recently put his name in the transfer portal, linebacker Cornell Wheeler (Michigan), safety Makari Paige (Michigan) and current West Bloomfield four-star junior cornerback Dillon Tatum.

Grice is not the only new head coach. Kory Cioroch, 31, takes over as head coach at Walled Lake Western after holding the head job the past several years at Farmington where he guided his team to an 8-2 record in 2019, ending North Farmington’s unbeaten season in the regular-season finale, then upsetting Oak Park in a pre-district game.

Cioroch will become the fourth head coach at Western in the last five years with longtime coach Mike Zdebski leaving for Chandler Hamilton in Arizona in 2018, then Alex Grignon moving on to become an assistant at Michigan Tech after two years and Mike Weiskopf, a longtime assistant under Zdebski, stepping down after this past season.

Jason Albrecht replaces Cioroch as head coach at Farmington, getting the promotion from his job as offensive coordinator.

Southfield A&T’s job is open following the resignation of Tim Conley, who said the emotional toll from the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in his decision.

Conley completed his 16th year as head coach, including the last five at A&T after Southfield and Southfield Lathrup merged in 2016.

“The COVID season was very difficult and we’re entering an offseason where we’re not lifting weights,” Conley said. “In a normal year I’d have a different attitude because I’d be with the kids every day and I’m no longer involved in the positive stuff that I enjoyed. I believe they have a couple of good candidates in mind.”

Former Detroit Denby head coach Tony Blankenship, now an administrator in the Southfield school district, and A&T offensive coordinator Aaron Marshall are possible candidates for the head job.

Marshall has been offensive coordinator under Conley the last eight years, including Southfield’s Division 2 state semifinal run in 2014. He is the uncle of freshman quarterback Isaiah Marshall who has offers from Michigan, Maryland, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Florida Atlantic and Pittsburgh.