Michael Bicknell to bring more than wins to North Marion
With the departure of former head football coach Grant Carmichael after the abbreviated 2021 season, North Marion found itself in need of a new leader ahead of the 2021-22 season.
In early August they found that candidate in longtime assistant coach and former Wilsonville assistant Michael Bicknell.
North Marion announced the new head coach pick on Aug. 7, and Bicknell met with parents and their families on Tuesday, Aug. 10. Bicknell's also been leading workouts in anticipation of the new season.
"Of the kids who I've met, it's a good group of kids," Bicknell said. "We've been in the weight room, they work hard, they get it done. I just like where we're at. It's a blend of some experienced guys and a lot of younger guys. You know, freshman showing up, a lot of juniors and sophomores, so it's been good."
Last season Bicknell helped the 5A Wilsonville Wildcats to the only unbeaten record of teams that played two games or more. Before that, he served with a variety of teams at different schools including Ida B. Wells (formerly Wilson), La Salle Prep, Parkrose and Putnam. The Wilsonville resident is ready to put what he learned at those schools to work in North Marion to build something beyond football.
"We want something that the players, the school and the community can be proud of," Bicknell said. "That's really what we're doing right now is we're instilling a philosophy in these players that's going to help them on and off the field through their high school career. And hopefully beyond, and that's what I think a successful program is.
"Wins and losses are great. But the true wins and losses are seeing those players being better husbands and fathers and coming back to the program and just enjoying the time that they had there."
Last season North Marion posted a 2-4 overall record, going 1-2 in Special District 2 play. Bicknell said he anticipated Gladstone, Estacada and Crook County to be the team's stiffest competition, while Molalla and Madras are in the same stage of development that the Huskies find themselves in. In short, no easy outs.
To get wins against the competition Bicknell plans to build his players up however they need it. Being a longtime coach and a father has given him perspective into coaching that Bicknell didn't necessarily have when he was younger.
"You understand where kids are coming from, what's going on because back in the day it used to be just football, and now it is trying to coach those life lessons through football," Bicknell said. "So I try and make sure the coaching transcends to the off-the-field for these players.
"What we need to do is teach the small things, teach the fundamentals, correct it and move forward and have trust with those players that they're going to make the right decision from that coaching," Bicknell said.
"I have a loud voice, but it's like I said, screaming and yelling doesn't work for me. And I think every player is different, every player gets coached a little bit different," he said. "You've got to understand your players and know that, and that's the best way to get the best out of them."
North Marion kicks off its season with a road game against Seaside on Friday, Sept. 3. Last season, Seaside finished its season with a 2-2 record.
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