GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — For Alex Thole, the decision of committing to Grand Valley State University wasn’t complicated.
As of Thursday, the First Team All-State passer decided to follow in his father’s footsteps, Joe Thole, who played defensive back for four years at GVSU.
While the facilities for athletics have seen major upgrades and the campus looks different in Allendale, one thing remains the same from the time his dad took the field as a freshman in the late 1980s: a winning tradition.
“I feel like their offense really fits me and the coaching staff is people with great character,” Alex Thole said. “They really care about you, the individual, and not just you, the football player, and they know how to win.”
The numbers back up what he sees in the Lakers.
Since Matt Mitchell arrived in Allendale, the last nine years have been nothing but winning seasons. His overall record is 87-25 and his first season started with a 10-1 record back in 2010, the most-ever by a first-year GVSU head coach. In that time, they have won the GLIAC twice and has made five NCAA Division II playoff appearances.
As for Alex Thole, the numbers on his end are pretty good as well, coming from Schoolcraft High School. Standing 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds, the quarterback threw for 2,999 yards while adding 38 touchdowns to just three interceptions with a 73% completion rate last year.
He feels like Mitchell’s offense is one he will succeed in.
“Grand Valley plays at a super high level and I’ve always wanted to play for a winning program,” Alex Thole said. “I was thinking Grand Valley the whole time, it was an easy decision.”
Of course, he’ll have to do all of his preparation without a football season. The MHSAA has canceled games for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
That hasn’t stopped him and his teammates from using what they are allowed to do in limited practice. Two days a week, the team does football-related things in helmets, while the other three days are dedicated to strength and conditioning. He also takes extra time to throw the ball with some of his guys.
For Schoolcraft football alone, the cancellation is a big deal in a small town where the population is near 1,500 people. However, Alex Thole doesn’t want to dwell on it and needs to focus on getting better daily in any way he can.
“It’s super weird, I’m not going to feel sorry for myself or anyone else,” he said. “We can’t control anything or do anything about it. We just gotta do what it takes to get better at this point.”
At the end of the day, Alex Thole is happy to be a Laker and for him, it feels good to carry the weight on his shoulders of carrying on winning football like his father did.
“They’re going to get a hard worker and someone who will do whatever it takes to keep that winning tradition alive,” he said. “I’m just ready to get going.”