Janus finalizes UWL coaching staff with former opposing coordinator Michael McGuire

McGuire served as OC for Dickinson State, who went 2-0 vs. Eagles in last 2 years

UWL football has a first-year head coach in Matt Janus who knows how to coach UWL defenses to a high level. But a main question this offseason was who would he choose to run the Eagle offense?

Well Janus has found the answer thanks to an old foe.

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FROM FOE TO FRIEND

Janus’s UWL defenses have usually had their opponents’ number the last three seasons, but Michael McGuire was an exception.

“I think since I’ve been here, this program’s lost eight games, and two of them were calling plays against that guy,” Janus said.

McGuire was the offensive coordinator for NAIA program Dickinson State the last two years, and his Blue Hawks beat Janus’s Eagles 35-17 in 2018 and 23-17 last season.

When it came time for Janus to find his first offensive coordinator, it actually wasn’t Janus reaching out first; it was McGuire.

“When we played out there two years ago I thought the La Crosse area was just awesome,” McGuire said. “It was just something that stuck in the back of my mind all this time, and as well as being a program that’s successful.”

McGuire “tested the waters” reaching out to Janus, and the two saw McGuire joining the ranks as a perfect fit for the culture Janus wants to develop.

“His priorities, whether it’s football, off the field, those types of things are all in line with the things I believe, and I think that’s really important when you start trying to put a staff together,” McGuire said of Janus.

The staff may be set now, but the coronavirus pandemic is making it impossible to do almost anything else. Player recruiting, in-person meetings, workout programs and more are all at a standstill nationwide.

“This profession is very relationship-driven,” McGuire said, “so not being able to interact person-to-person with a lot of those guys is a big change.”

An unprecedented offseason for a new coaching staff presents plenty of challenges, but Janus is confident he and his new hires can ride the waves and keep the program on the right course.

“We made this huge step as a program over the last four years to get to second and third in this conference, and that took a lot of work and was so hard,” Janus said. “And now we have to make the hardest step of all.

“It’s just absolutely huge to have a guy like Coach McGuire on our staff now.”

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