The 2020 spring sports season will feature five new head coaches and multiple new assistant coaches spanning across nine different spring sports.
These additions add pressure to the teams as they get ready for the season under new guidance. The retirement of many coaches from the 2019 spring season was a primary reason for these changes.
In some cases, assistant coaches have elevated to head coaching positions. Coach Steve Stack, for example, moved up to head coach of boys track and field after longtime head coach Steve Weisbrook retired. Stack brings years of experience as an assistant coach mainly focused on pole vaulters and high jumpers. Stack is also a social studies teacher, teaching U.S. History, American Studies and Sociology. He holds high expectations for the 2020 spring season after last year’s state finals victory in the 4×8 and the open 800 events.
“We’ve always expected to be our best, and last year our best was to be state champions, and this year we have that same expectation to walk away at the end of the season that we are the best runners, jumpers, throwers we can possibly be,” Stack said.
The boys track and field head coach position holds many different responsibilities leading up to the season and as the season gets underway.
“[I’m] trying to get a hold of how to hire coaches and how to interview them,” Stack said. “Then little things like figuring out the bus schedule, getting in contact with parents… There’s just a lot of little things that add up that hopefully, after this year, [things] will be a lot easier because I would have done it before.”
Brand new coaches have also been called forward to lead teams for the 2020 spring season, such as Chris Harrison, the new boys tennis head coach. Harrison played as a student at Naperville Central and graduated in 2011. He played collegiately at Elmhurst College for four years then became a coach at Five Star Tennis Center and is now at Tennis Academy in Plainfield.
Harrison plans to bring a new flare to the team to get them excited about the 2020 spring season.
“I think I can bring a new spark to the team,” Harrison said. “I’ve got a lot of good positive energy. I’m young and I’ve been in their footsteps not too long ago, so I can play in with them, I could work out with them and I can coach them.”
His goals for the season are set high as he hopes that the team can strive to be the best they can possibly be.
“I got a couple of goals, the first one’s always to win the DuPage Valley Conference,” Harrison said. “Then, moving onto the sectionals, we’re trying to win sectionals again, which would be awesome and we’ve been one through six in the standings the past four years.”
Athletic Director Andy Lutzenkirchen knows that these coaches will have more on their plate now that they are head coaches.
“Their job is bigger,” Lutzenkirchen said. “There is more paperwork, all the administrative things that a head coach does, working with me a little bit more than they would have had as an assistant coach and getting ready for their seasons by having their preseason team meetings.”
The 2020 spring season starts soon for many of these teams, and the new coaches plan to move forward with high expectations and a positive outlook on the season ahead.