FREEPORT - Longtime Freeport High School wrestling coach Anthony Dedmond is ready to do double duty. He's also taking over as the Pretzels' head football coach.
The board of education approved his hiring Tuesday night.
Dedmond has been the wrestling coach for 13 seasons. He'll continue to serve in that capacity while also coaching the football team. He is only the fourth head football coach at Freeport in the last 30 years.
Dedmond has coach football at the freshman and middle school levels at Freeport in the past. He is a 1992 Freeport graduate. While a student he was a standout football player and wrestler. He has continued to play semipro football in recent years with the Rockton Rush.
"Words cannot explain the excitement I'm feeling now," said Dedmond in a phone interview Wednesday. "The emotions that I have right now it really hasn't sunk in yet. I'm just looking forward to getting things going and getting everything off on a positive note."
Dedmond has always been an extremely physical football player. So is that the identity he wants his teams to have?
"We want to leave it all on the field. Not just the field, but leave it all in the classroom," says Dedmond. "Everything we do we want to give it 100 percent. I want the kids to understand the opportunities that they have and make sure that they excel in everything they do, so we're going to change everything up. We're going to make sure we're focused and determined. Hungry. That's the biggest thing. We want to make sure the kids are hungry and expect to be successful."
Freeport has had some outstanding individual football talent in recent years but it's been a struggle for the team to try to get up there and contend for a conference championship. The Pretzels haven't made the playoffs since 2008. They struggle being a smaller school than most of the other NIC-10 schools. So what will it take to make Freeport a conference contender and a playoff contender again?
"Everybody is going to have to buy in," says Dedmond. "That's not just our kids but our community. From everyone in our school district to everyone through our neighborhoods. We want to make sure everybody is a part of this. It's not just about Freeport football. It's the Freeport community. We want to bring the excitement back and that's going to come off of that family atmosphere throughout the whole community."
Dedmond turns 4 years old on Thursday.
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