“He would be there for us no matter what ,” said Jefferson football player Tanner Smith. “So we have to be there for him, he’s pretty much like another family member to us,” he added.
Smith and several of his team mates spoke before the Rockford Public School Board Tuesday night after their coach Ken DuBose was terminated last week. “DuBose actually got kids into college that probably would have never got out of Rockford,” said Jefferson parent Terrell Maten.
DuBose was en route to start his third year with the J-Hawks. Last year was the teams first four win season since 2011. Just two years ago the team couldn’t even manage to win a single game. Players and community members have been outspoken against the school districts decision to let DuBose go.
“I’ve definitely loved the support that I have gotten from the community and from the kids,” DuBose said. “I love those guys, I wish them the best, I really wish that they didn’t have to go through this,” he added.
In a statement, the District Athletic Director Mat Parker said, “an ongoing matter involving Jefferson High School Head Football Coach Ken DuBose was brought to our attention. DuBose’s employment with RPS 205 has been terminated. This is a personnel matter, and we’re unable to provide further comment.”
“You get rid of him after the football season of last year if there was an issue, not at the end after he spent the whole summer working with these kids,” Maten said. “These kids had a lot of faith in him, they believed in him and stood by him as he stood by them,” he added.
Despite pleas from players, the board approved DuBose’s termination. He hopes the team will continue their success into the upcoming season.
“Seeing how this is going to play out, there’s some really good kids on that team,” DuBose said. “They should have a really good year. We were thinking that this could be the best team that they’ve had in a decade or so,” he added.
The new head coach has been named as Tony Ambrogio, who has worked as Jefferson’s offensive coordinator. DuBose told Eyewitness News over the phone that he believes Ambrogio is the right candidate to take his place.