MAPLE GROVE – A former Maple Grove High School football standout has been hired as the program’s next coach.
Justin Hanft confirmed to WNYNewsNow that he accepted the position and has already started predawn weight room sessions with his players.
“I am very excited to return to a place where I played my high school football,” said Hanft. “This is a dream come true.”
Hanft said that he leaned on many people for advice during this process and he said he also understands that there will be some sacrifices he’ll have to make as far as his spare time is concerned.
“Obviously, I had to run this past my wife and she was extremely supportive, and we just felt like the timing was right,” he said.
Hanft replaces his former coach Curt Fisher who left the school amid an unidentified internal controversy which baffled some because of the team’s success.
Maple Grove fell to Cambridge in the Class D Final, 26-14.
Fisher has since resurfaced as Chautauqua Lake’s new head football coach.
“I wish him nothing but the best at Chautauqua Lake; he was my mentor and my high school Football coach and actually gave me an opportunity to coach as an assistant when I graduated from college,” said Hanft.
Maple Grove Athletic Director, Kathy Burnett, said that Hanft was a “great hire” whose diverse background in education and athletics will serve him well.
“We are very pleased to have Justin as our new head coach,” Burnett said.
Hanft, a rising star n the education field heads the Chautauqua County Education Coalition.
Before his tenure at the Coalition began, he ran the County Dream It Do It program of WNY.