By Joseph Hayes
We have seen plenty of surprises in 2020.
Then came this.
On an overcast Monday morning, some disappointing news came in.
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Veteran Port Huron High School football coach Ryan Mullins announced he would be stepping down from his position, affective immediately in an email that read:
Dear PHHS Football Family,
Today is a bittersweet day for me and my family. But it is also a day of reflection and gratitude. After much thought and prayers, I have decided that it is time for me to begin the next chapter of my life, thus I will be resigning as the Head Football Coach at PHHS.
It has been an honor and pleasure to be a part of the football program at Port Huron High for 27 years as a player, assistant coach, and head coach.
First of all, I have to thank the players. This includes both current and former players. Players are the lifeblood of any program. Without players, there is no need for coaches. All of you made the decision to be a part of a game that takes a unique commitment and toughness that not all individuals are willing to do. You are forever a special part of Port Huron High School history.
I must give a special thanks to all our current players for their commitment this season during very uncertain times. Covid-19 presented new challenges, but all of you faced those challenges and showed an uncommon and resilient strength to proceed with football. Thank you for your commitment and trust.
Next, I want to thank our parents. Year after year, our parents have supported our program. This support has allowed our program to reach new heights. This level of support has been unmatched by any other school. Thank you parents for giving our coaches the opportunity to work with your young men and women.
The football program at Port Huron High has flourished because of the mindset and work ethic of our coaching staff. Thank you coaches for the sacrifices you have made and the commitment you have displayed. I hope all you continue to be a part of Big Red Football.
Finally, I must thank my family. Your love, support, and toughness is unparalleled. We did this together. Thank you Dominic, Jace, Bryn, Trey, and especially my wife Sara. All of us have put our hearts and souls into this program. I am so thankful for this.
I know that the football program will continue to grow because of the leadership of our Principal Mr. Palmer, Athletic Director Ms. Ciesielski, and Assistant Principals Joe Gilbert and John Eastman. I consider all our administrative leaders as a part of our coaching staff. Your guidance and support are very much appreciated.
Enthusiasm is the Force that creates Momentum!
Go Big Reds!
And with that, after 14 seasons, Mullins called it a career.
Mullins became the all-time leader in coaching wins for Port Huron High during the 2020 season. He ends his career with an 85-53 record and five Macomb Area Conference championships.
Current Port Huron Northern head football coach Larry Roelens spoke of his respect for Mullins, who served as Roelens quarterback coach and offensive coordinator when Roelens played for the Big Reds.
“Ryan was my offensive coordinator when I was quarterback there,” Roelens reflected. “It was maybe 2002-03 when I played. It was awesome.
“He was a tremendous guy, with attention to detail and not afraid to ask me what do you think, and what would you like to do? That was the fun part about him. He trusted his players and he is also the main reason I went into special education.”
This season was yet another special year for the Big Reds, as they went 8-1 en route to a MAC Blue title.
“I’ve grown up with the Mullins family my whole life and I know this is a bittersweet moment for coach,” Port Huron senior defensive end Noah Kindle said. “There has been so many positives in his career and so much success. Being the winningest coach in school history is an amazing achievement. Playing for him for the past four years was a lot of fun and I won’t forget it.”
Check back with Blue Water Healthy Living later for more information on Mullins’ retirement.
We look back at just how much coaching at Port Huron High means for the Schultz-Mullins Family here: https://bluewaterhealthyliving.com/annual-rivalry-game-between-phh-and-phn-proves-special-time-for-schultz-mullins-family/
Just recently, Coach Mullins was honored as Coach of the Year in the Blue Water Area. Check that video out here: https://bluewaterhealthyliving.com/port-hurons-mullins-honored-as-football-coach-of-the-year/