By J. PATRICK PEPPER
DEARBORN — Dearborn native Dan Enos took another step up the coaching ladder last week when he was named the head football coach at Central Michigan University.
The 41-year-old Enos makes the move to Mount Pleasant after spending four years as an assistant coach at Michigan State and takes over a Central Michigan team that finished the season ranked for the first time in the program’s history.
CMU signed Enos to a five-year contract reportedly worth at least $325,000 annually, which includes a $250,000 base salary and $75,000 for media obligations.
At a press conference announcing the hire Jan. 11, Enos said he was excited to get such a sought-after head-coaching job in his home state.
“I began thinking about what attracted me to the job,” Enos said. “The first was the strong academic reputation that Central Michigan has throughout the country. Second was the proud tradition the football team has, it was the class of the Mid-American Conference when I was growing up in Dearborn, just like it is now.”
Enos arguably is the best quarterback ever to play at a Dearborn high school. As a dual-threat signal caller at Edsel Ford in the mid-1980s, Enos piled up 5,743 yards passing – a state record at the time – and 46 TDs over the course of his prep career. As a senior, Enos was named to the prestigious Detroit Free Press Dream Team and also garnered all-state honors.
His now-retired high school coach, Jack Bridges, said Enos has possessed the qualities that got him the CMU job since he was a teenager lobbing touchdowns for the Thunderbirds.
“As a sophomore he came in at halftime of our first game and that was it,” Bridges said. “No one ever moved him from that spot.”
“He was a very good decision maker then and he had that certain cockiness a quarterback needs and that I think a coach needs, too,” said Bridges.
“But the other thing was, he always was respectful to adults and he knew how to close his mouth when he needed to. It looks like it’s worked out for him.”
Enos parlayed his high school successes into a scholarship to Michigan State University where he compiled a 16-7-1 record as a two-year starter, including back-to-back bowl victories. And despite the proliferation of passing offenses since Enos graduated in 1991, he still ranks among MSU’s all-time Top 10 in pass attempts, pass completions, completion percentage, passing yards and total yards.
Enos’ parents still live in Dearborn and his brother, Gary, is co-owner of Falls Sports Lounge on Carlysle. They said they have been inundated with calls from well-wishers in the last few days as more people hear of the news.
“It’s been really nice,” said Gary, who made frequent trips to East Lansing to see Dan coach over the last few years. “So many people have called and had nothing but good things to say, so needless to say we’re all really excited for (Dan).”
But the change of stations for Dan means a change of alliances for the family. After so many years of rooting for the Spartans, the Chippewas are now their top team — good news for local CMU fans looking for a place to watch the game.
“Oh, there’s going to be more Central football on at the bar, definitely, and I’m sure we’ll be arranging some expeditions up there” Gary said.