GP tabs Page as new football coach
GRANTS PASS — For the first time in a decade and a half, there will be somebody other than John Musser leading the Grants Pass football team.
Grants Pass announced Thursday that it has hired one of its own in former offensive lineman Brad Page as its new head football coach after Musser stepped down following the completion of the 2021 season. A 2009 graduate of Grants Pass High, Page has most recently served as the director of football operations and the quality control coach at Saint Anselm College, an NCAA Division II school in New Hampshire.
“It’s definitely a blessing and a place to call home for the foreseeable future, which I think we’re all really looking forward to,” said Page. “In coaching, you can bounce around a lot and that can be hard on a family, so that was important for me to find some stability for my kids and my wife and be able to put down some roots. Doing it at a place where I grew up and that I love ... getting back to Southern Oregon is a huge blessing and a very unique opportunity. That’s why I jumped at it.”
Musser had been the Cavemen’s head coach since 2008. In his 14 years as head coach, Grants Pass finished with a 73-68 record.
The Cavemen’s best season under Musser came in 2014 when they ran the table in the regular season on their way to a Southwest Conference title. Grants Pass finished 11-1 that year, making it to the Class 6A quarterfinals before losing to West Salem.
Musser first joined Grants Pass in 1997 as its freshman coach, working his way up the ladder to the defensive coordinator position prior to his appointment as head coach in 2008.
“Just coaching in general here for 24 years, it’s basically been my life or a huge part of my life and my family’s life,” said Musser, who will continue in his role as a special education teacher at Grants Pass. “Everything that went on in our lives over the last quarter-century has been centered around Grants Pass football. Everything from our summer schedules to where we lived to our entertainment centered around GP football.”
“I’m going to enjoy the homestead a little bit more than I have in the past,” continued Musser. “We’re moving from literally living across the street from the football field in the middle of town to some acreage on the outskirts of town, so that’s really occupying a lot of my time lately.”
This will be the first varsity head coaching job for the 31-year-old Page, who graduated from Brigham Young University in 2019 with a degree in business management.
Before moving to New Hampshire to join the Saint Anselm coaching staff, Page served a variety of roles at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., ranging from head coach of the freshman football team to serving as the varsity team’s defensive coordinator and special teams coach.
Page was a senior at Grants Pass during Musser’s debut season as head coach, and it’s the former’s mindset as a player that makes the latter think he’ll succeed in leading the Cavemen.
“What I think is a cool thing about this hire is that Brad is a program-made football player,” said Musser. “He ended up being a first-team all-league offensive tackle and that was because he bought into the Grants Pass Cavemen football program. He was a 6-foot, 195-pound offensive tackle on a team that ran the heck out of the ball. He was a program kid and not an all-star, he wasn’t 6-foot-4 and 250 or 260 pounds. He was just a smart football player and did what was asked of him, so he knows what that takes.”
Page and his family, which includes a 2 1/2-year-old and 1-year-old, hope to move to Grants Pass in the next month or two, he said.
“Obviously, I’m familiar with (Musser), and him and I have had a great relationship over the years,” said Page. “He’s been a mentor for me and he was a coach when I played there. He’s helped me throughout a lot of my coaching career. There’s a lot of connections and a feeling like it’s home. My life has gone in a completely different direction and I’ve been all over the place, but it was good coming back and it just felt like home. It just felt right when I interviewed for it.”
Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.