River Falls in “search mode” for new head coach

March 26, 2010

Every off-season in college football and in the NFL, teams that finished the season below expectations or teams looking for a new direction elect to change head coaches and what ensues is a flurry of interviews, speculation and, in the end, a new coach signs a contract and begins a new era in that program or franchise. This process has become commonly known as “the coaching carousel.”

In a high school football conference with only eight teams, a coaching carousel doesn’t come around every so often but for the BRC in 2010, two of the eight teams, River Falls and Eau Claire North, will soon have new head coaches leading their teams into August.

In early January, River Falls head coach John Bennett stepped down after eight years at the helm of the Wildcat program. Bennett led the Wildcats to a 31-44 record and back-to-back trips to the WIAA playoffs in 2007 and 2008. Bennett had this to say in a letter which was posted on the Wildcat Gridiron Club website.

“…in evaluating my own level of energy and commitment to the job of head coach, I know that it is no longer what it needs to be. I have reached a point in my career where I am unable to commit with my whole heart to the endeavor of coaching football. Being a high school football coach is no longer just an “in-season” job. It truly has become a year round commitment. I am unable to sustain the energy level the job demands and still live a balanced, healthy life.”

To view the complete letter, click on the following link http://wildcatgridironclub.com/coachsteppingdown.htm.

As for the 2010 Wildcat squad, they could know who their new head coach will be within the next few weeks. Rollie Hall, athletic director at River Falls, hopes that the coaching search will conclude before May.

“We are in the search mode right now for a new coach,” Hall said. “We have the applicants and hope to have someone in place by mid-April.”

Hall would not disclose the names of any applicants but the job is being sought after by numerous candidates both inside and outside of the River Falls School District.

“We do not have a teaching position available this year,” Hall said. “We have had some internal candidates as well as several that are willing to coach without a teaching position.”

The new head coach for the Wildcats will inherit a team that finished last in the BRC at 3-6 (1-6). Key losses for the Wildcats will be two defensive stand-outs in linebackers Zach Pavlichek and Ben Wunrow and also a two-year starter on the offensive line in Grant Lillvis. Key returners for the Wildcats will be running back Nick Zimmerman who ran for more than 300 yards on the ground and wide receiver/defensive back Jack Herum, a 1st team All-BRCFootball.com performer at defensive back.

Dan Tracy



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