Serving Outside the Lines

After work hours end, GLE lineworkers and brothers-in-law Mike Hofmann and Tom McLouth turn their skills in looking out for people to a different cause:  community service through coaching football.Austin Hofmann and Max McLouth

Both men volunteer as football coaches at Mason County Central (MCC) High School in Scottville, as they have for years. Their sons—cousins Austin Hofmann and Max McLouth—have been close all their lives. The young men played high school football together for MCC and will bring their sports skills to rival football teams in Grand Rapids colleges this fall. Austin will play for Davenport College’s Panthers while Max joins Grand Valley State University’s Lakers.

Both lineworkers have football in their veins. Mike realized success as a middle linebacker at MCC himself. His late father Ron played high school football in Chicago where his team was ranked third in the nation in 1959. Following that, Ron played for Northwestern in Chicago. The father of Tom’s wife also played football at Northwestern, a great uncle played for the Detroit Lions, and cousins played for the Giants.

Austin Hofmann with family signing letter of intent for college footballThose family backgrounds were part of what spurred the men’s interest in coaching years later. Tom wanted to be “an involved parent who contributes and doesn’t just sit on the sidelines.” Mike says he “started coaching for love of the game and to spend more time with my two sons Austin and Khole.”

Their involvement in the Pop Warner program, the oldest youth football organization in the world, has included many local fundraising activities. Tom has headed the local program for six years and all three of his sons—Riley, Max and middle school student Gus—have participated.Max McLouth with father Tom

Mike credits the Pop Warner program with providing years of experience that clearly show in young athletes who join high school football teams. Tom cites the program as a basis for any good school football program and notes all MCC volunteer coaches are involved in Pop Warner. 

Did the men’s dedication to coaching contribute to their sons being accepted on two college football teams? It’s hard to tell, Mike and Tom admit. They hope so.

But at the very least, their sons will carry their families’ love of the game and all they learned from their fathers about playing football and serving their communities into their college years and beyond.