The Grand Valley football team runs on to the field through a cloud of blue smoke at the start of a game.

First-year head coach Scott Wooster ready to lead Grand Valley football

Spanish radio station La Poderosa 93.3 FM will broadcast Lakers' home games this season

After three years as an assistant coach on Matt Mitchell’s staff, Scott Wooster was introduced as Mitchell’s successor on Jan. 24, becoming the eighth head coach to guide Grand Valley football. Since then, he’s had plenty of time to reflect on his place in the program’s history, he said.

“It feels awesome,” Wooster said, during the conference’s Media Day on July 31. “From Tom Beck to Brian Kelly to Chuck Martin to Matt Mitchell and now to me. Studying the history of Grand Valley State football, it’s about pride and tradition. We’ve got this thing going, so let’s keep it going.”

The Grand Valley football team, ranked No. 2 in Lindy’s Sports preseason polls, opened fall camp Aug. 7 under Wooster’s direction, beginning preparations for its 52nd season of competition. Grand Valley opens the season on the road against No. 3 Colorado School of Mines on Aug. 31 in Golden, Colorado. 

The Lakers beat the Orediggers at Lubbers Stadium to open the 2022 season, but the Orediggers finished the season as the national runner-up, losing to Ferris State in the Division II national championship game. 

The road to a GLIAC championship will go through Ferris State again this season. At the GLIAC’s Media Day, Ferris State was selected as the conference’s top team with Grand Valley picked to finish second. Lindy’s Sports also has the Bulldogs as its preseason No. 1 team.

The Lakers did snap their six-game losing streak to Ferris State last season, propelling them to their first GLIAC championship since 2016. However, the Bulldogs knocked Grand Valley out of the Division II playoffs on their way to their second national title.

“There’s a tremendous balance of staying on the course that coach Mitchell set and then finding those edges that get us to elite and over the top,” Wooster said. “There are these fine lines in life and in football that you have to have balance.”

Quarterback Cade Peterson and linebacker Abe Swanson are two of 26 returning starters who will bring leadership and continuity to the Lakers. The two were key players in last year’s GLIAC championship team.

“What (Cade and Abe) have put into Grand Valley State football and what we’ve been through together, this group means a tremendous amount to me personally and our staff,” Wooster said. “When you love someone deeply and have gone through the things that we’ve gone through, it’s awesome. It’s a terrific feeling.”

Grand Valley quarterback Cade Peterson attempts a pass during the Lakers game against Ferris State on Oct. 14.
Grand Valley quarterback Cade Peterson attempts a pass during the Lakers game against Ferris State on Oct. 14.
Image credit - Courtesy

Peterson, the catalyst to the Lakers’ offense, was named the GLIAC’s Offensive Back of the Year last season after accumulating nearly 3,000 yards of total offense and contributing 23 touchdowns.

Swanson, who was selected the GLIAC’s Defensive Back of the Year and named to several All-America teams, leads a defense which was second in the nation in scoring defense (11.2 points per game) and fifth in rushing defense (69.9 yards per game).

“We love this game and want to be around it 24/7,” Swanson said. “When you are around a group of guys like this, it makes it easier. You love to be in that locker room with them. You love every part of it. You love the 6 a.m. workouts. You love the 9 o’clock meetings at night.”

Lakers on the radio

Grand Valley becomes the first Division II school to have a dedicated Spanish broadcast of its games for the 2023 season. In April, the Grand Valley athletics department and Cano’s Broadcasting announced a two-year agreement, which will broadcast Lakers home games for this season. 

Spanish-speaking Lakers fans can listen to games on La Poderosa 93.3 FM and 810 AM in Grand Rapids and 103.1 FM and 1080 AM in the Midland and Lansing areas. 

“We continue to find ways to expand our championship brand and grow our fan base," said GVSU Deputy Director of Athletics for External Relations Doug Lipinski. "We are thrilled with this partnership and the possibilities it will present in our West Michigan community. It is another way GVSU continues to make a commitment to reach higher in our approach to higher education.”