Stillman Assistant Coach Dies 7/14/12

Stillman Valley, Illinois-A Stateline football team is mourning the loss of one of its coaches.  Long-time assistant Joe Blume died Saturday morning in his sleep while vacationing in Wisconsin.

Blume was 71 years old. 

It was 19 years ago when Stillman Valley head coach Mike Lalor first met Blume.  They were both assistant coaches at Stillman under then head coach Kevin O'Neil.

"I was brand new out of college, and he'd been coaching for 30 years or so, and I was intimidated by the man," said Lalor to WTVO. 

But the two men have been nearly inseparable ever since.

"The first night we talked about six or seven hours straight football, and that's when we knew we had a special bond," said Lalor.

Before going to Stillman Blume was the head football coach at Jefferson from 1977 through 1993. He guided the J-Hawks to the playoffs eight times.  At Stillman he was an assistant, and then the head coach for two seasons before turning the reigns over to Lalor in 1998.  Ever since Blume has been Lalor's right-hand man.

Lalor says Blume brought an air of confidence to the team.

"That things were going to be OK no matter who we were playing or what had gone wrong during the week," said Lalor.

Lalor says Blume was a tremendous fundamental coach with a brilliant defensive mind.  And Blume had an eye for untapped talent.

"He could watch a player that nobody else had given a chance to, and he could see something in that kid and make them into a player, and that player would play his tail off for him."

Blume was a huge part of four State Championship teams, and so many great victories at Stillman Valley.  Although he and Lalor sometimes disagreed they always found a solution that was best for the team.

"I'm just really going to miss that, and miss him as my friend," said Lalor.

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