Prep Football

Michael Joyner named new varsity football coach at Marion

Has been assistant in the program

Marion's Alex Mota (8) celebrates surrounded by teammates after winning their game at Clear Creek-Amana High School in T
Marion’s Alex Mota (8) celebrates surrounded by teammates after winning their game at Clear Creek-Amana High School in Tiffin on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

MARION — Some things will change, some will stay the same.

Obviously Michael Joyner isn’t going to divulge specifics on his offensive and defensive philosophies. You’ll have to wait until the season begins in the fall to see.

Joyner was announced as Marion’s new head varsity football coach Tuesday, pending school board approval. He was head freshman-sophomore coach the previous two years and varsity offensive line coach this past season for Tim Lovell, who has moved across town to take over the Linn-Mar program.

“He has actually helped me throughout this process,” Joyner said. “Tim was willing to sit down with me and do some mock interviews and just kind of talking about the things we may change. He was 100-percent supportive. He was like ‘You have to make this 100 percent your thing.’ Just because I was involved with what he did doesn’t mean you can’t change anything. So we are going to tweak some things, just the things that I potentially see us improving upon or maybe just because it works better for me than somebody that had to drive across town from work to be able to be here.”

Lovell is a teacher in the Linn-Mar district, which was a deciding factor in taking the football job there. Joyner is a math teacher at Marion, in the building with the kids he’ll coach.

A Valley (Elgin) graduate, he graduated from the University of Iowa and got his master’s degree at Morningside. Prior to coming to Marion, he was a teacher and coach at Glenwood, where he was an assistant, including being offensive coordinator for a playoff team there.

Joyner grew up in Cedar Rapids, moving with his family after fourth grade.

“I feel a sense of excitement, I feel a sense of kind of calm because it is so much unknown,” he said. “We lost Tim (in) a pretty quick time, and not a lot of us knew that was going on. But excitement is really the word here, and a sense of opportunity and sense for the administration in trusting me with this position. Really just thankful for the kids and their support. Just really looking forward to getting started.”

Marion went 3-5 last season, upsetting Clear Creek Amana in a Class 3A postseason game. The Indians’ top returnee is sophomore quarterback Alex Mota, who recently received a scholarship offer from Iowa State.

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“We had our first meeting this morning, and we have about 68 kids in grades 9 through 11 that either showed up to the meeting or were out for football last year and have contacted us saying we couldn’t be there but are still interested,” Joyner said. “That allowed us to kind of meet those kids and kind of get out in front of them already. Kind of lay out some of those things that are going to remain kind of similar and some of those things that we may change. But it was just really good to get in front of those guys and have their support. I could tell that they were relieved a little bit that some of the unknown was gone.

“They are excited to get to work. A lot of those kids already have been working really hard. Just getting better every day is where we’re at right now. Being prepared for June and our offseason stuff, when we can actually coach a little bit. Then hopefully be ready for the end of August.”

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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