SAGINAW COUNTY (WJRT) - (01/08/2018) - Matt LaFleur spent the early 2000s as a star quarterback for Saginaw Valley State University, leading them to the playoffs all 3 years as a starter.
But now he has a new job on the football field – head coach of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.
While it's been a while since he wore the Cardinal red, the university still feels proud of their alumnus.
J.J. Boehm looks back on his first season broadcasting SVSU Football as he stands looking at photos on a wall in Ryder Center on the campus of SVSU.
That wall is filled with photos of Cardinal alumni who have gone on to play professional football in the NFL and CFL. One of those pictures is of LaFleur in his number 3 jersey.
Boehm remembers his first year with the team was also LaFleur's first year as the team's quarterback.
"There are only 32 heading coaching jobs in the NFL,” said Boehm who now serves as a spokesman for the university. “So Matt has quickly risen to the peak of his profession, the coaching profession and we're thrilled when we can see one of our alums reach the pinnacle of their profession."
He recalls LaFleur’s work ethic and seeing big things from the kid from day one.
"Matt was a hard worker, he was smart, he was an intense competitor, he's carried that with him into his coaching," said Boehm.
A few big names that have worked with LaFleur in the NFL ranks took to twitter to congratulate the Mount Pleasant native, including MSU's Kirk Cousins and Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, both of whom he worked with while with the Washington Redskins.
Jim Collins has spent the last 11 years on the sidelines at SVSU as the head football coach. He wasn’t there when LaFleur was; but he remembers meeting a young boy in the late 80s who he believed was born to do this.
"He's the type of young man that was born to coach,” said Collins. “His father was a football coach, I had an opportunity to work with his dad at Central Michigan and so I've known Matt for a while. At 10 years old he was running around the fields of Central Michigan and you just knew he was destined for a career in football."
LaFleur takes over a Packer team that missed the playoffs for the second straight year and replaces longtime coach Mike McCarthy, who lead Green Bay to a Super Bowl in 2011.
ESPN reports that LaFleur agreed to a four-year contract with an option for a fifth year and will be introduced by the team on Wednesday.
LaFleur served as the offensive coordinator this past season for the Tennessee Titans. Other notable coaching stints include the St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons and University of Notre Dame.