A familiar face takes over the Gardiner football program.

Patrick Munzing has been named as the new head coach for the Tigers. An assistant for the past five seasons under former coach Joe White, Munzing, 39, has roots that run deep in the Gardiner community. Munzing’s father, Rob, was the head coach for the Tigers from 1986-2000, winning three Eastern Class A championships.

Patrick said the hardest part was waiting to tell his family the news.

“We had to wait for all the paperwork to go through,” Munzing said. “We’re kind of wondering how everything was going to play out, where I was the assistant, thinking (this might happen). But you never know who’s going to walk through the door, who else is going to apply…Once I got the news, I was like ‘I can’t really tell anybody.’ Everybody is so connected in Gardiner — it’s Tiger Town — and everything goes back through the community. I told my wife, and that was it, I couldn’t say anything to anybody.”

Once Munzing received clearance, he made the short drive to his parents’ house to deliver the news.

“I stopped over and said, ‘Just so you know, and you can’t say anything yet, but I got the head coach job,'” Munzing said. “My dad just gave me a great big hug. We just hugged for a while, and it was pretty emotional. It was fantastic.”

Munzing has been entrenched in Gardiner football nearly his whole life. Munzing played for the Tigers in high school and was part of two of Gardiner’s regional championship teams under his father, in 1997 and 1998.

“I grew up watching my dad be the head coach and run the team,” Munzing said. “Being a part of Gardiner football has always been something, for me, ever since I was tiny. There’s a picture circulating of me around when I was first born. My first gift was a football that my dad gave me. I went to my first football game down at Quimby Field when I was just a few days old. That part is super exciting, being a part of a program, and having played for it, and now get to lead it. It’s super exciting.”

Gardiner went 14-31 over the past five seasons under White, which included two years playing in Class C and two trips to the playoffs. The Tigers finished the 2019 season with a 2-6 record in Class B North. Gardiner is also 1-4 in the past five seasons against longtime rival Cony.

Munzing praised White and plans to build on the foundation of his work. Munzing said Gardiner will continue to use the spread attack on offense.

“I think Joe did a really great job of bringing back the youth program and really tying that back with the varsity program,” Munzing said. “I really want to continue that. You’re nothing in a varsity-level program without your youth…The other big part, one of the things we’ve talked about so far, is just getting some discipline back. Some of the things that hurt us in the past was penalties. Looking to find ways to kind of clean some of that stuff up and that traditional football stuff that we’re accustomed to for Gardiner.”

Munzing will be a busy man, on and off the field. He is a Traffic Safety Specialist for the Maine State Police. Munzing quickly credited the support he’s received from his wife, Lisa, and two children, Owen, 12, and Karen, 8.

“I wouldn’t be able to (take on the responsibility) without the support of my wife and my two kids,” Munzing said. “They are all super supportive. We’re in a place where we can all make this happen. It’s all about work-life balance. One of the things we’re trying to teach (the players) is life lessons. That’s one of the best lessons you can teach them, time management and life balance. I can show them, ‘Hey, I work a full-time job, I can still coach and help out and do this type of stuff, and really show them that there’s stuff out there in the world you can still do and still participate in your community and be a part of this stuff.”

 

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

 

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