Monday they introduced former Stillman Valley standout Patrick Babcock as the head coach of the Jefferson J-Hawks.
"Rockford Public Schools continue to work tirelessly to provide the best opportunities for our students, and this is yet another example of how we are accomplishing these goals," said District 205 Director of Athletics Mat Parker.
Babcock led Stillman Valley to its first State Football Championship in 1999 as a mammouth lineman. He later went on to play guard and tackle for the Fighting llini. He made 48 starts for them. Babcock was part of a Big Ten Championship team.
Most recently he was an assistant coach and for one year the interim head coach at Rockford College. He's glad now to be back at his high school roots.
"I'm extremely excited to get a chance to be in this position," said Babcock. "I understand I'm kind of a younger guy, but I've put myself through a little bit of the wares and worked a lot of long hours and learned a lot about football throughout my time with the game."
Babcock was not only big, he was physical at Stillman, a trademark that Stillman Valley is known for. And that's an identity Babcock wants to carry over to Jefferson.
"A smash-mouth, hard-nosed football program that's going to be physical. That's going to be able to run the football, and that's going to be able to do a lot of the things that we want to do, not necessarily waiting for somebody to allow us to do the things that we want to do," said Babcock.
Another thing Babcock learned at Stillman...
"How extremely important the off-season is. Getting in the weight room. Getting the chance to be around your teammates."
Jefferson was beginning to turn the corner the last two years under former Coach Rick Schmitz who resigned recently. The J-Hawks won four games last year and three in 2010. But the 15 years prior to that they won only 23 games total. The last time Jefferson had a winning season was 1993. The head coach then was Joe Blume, one of Babcock's former coaches at Stillman Valley.
"If he doesn't think he's going to get a phone call (for advice) he's wrong," smiled Babcock.
Several Jefferson players were at Monday's press conference. They're intrigued by having a former State Champion and a former Big Ten Champion lead them.
"I think he's really going to help a lot with us," said quarterback Kelly Ferguson. "I think he'll slip in. We've got good players. He's just ready to go."
"It makes me really excited," said Jefferson lineman Scott Fausett. "I just can't wait to get out there and get going."
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