BYRON, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Head coaches of our local high school football teams couldn’t get the job done without the help of capable assistant coaches. One of the top assistants locally is at Byron, and one organization is recognizing him as the best in the entire state of Illinois.

Eric Yerly has been on the football coaching staff at Byron since 2003 just after he finished up his education at NIU. He got to Byron just in time to work under legendary football coach Everett Stine, the man Byron’s football field is named after.

“I was able to spend one year on the varsity staff with coach Stein as a student-teacher and really learned a lot more about football besides the X’s and O’s and how to build relationships with kids,” said Yerly.

In April of this year, Yerly was named the Broyles Assistant Coach of the year in Illinois in high school football. The award is named after late University of Arkansas football coach Frank Broyles. For years a Frank Broyles Award winner has been announced at the college level. Now it has been expanded to the high school level recognizing one top assistant in each state. The college Broyles Award is run by the Broyles family Molly (granddaughter of Coach Broyles) and Betsy (daughter of coach Broyles). At the high school level, the award winners are chosen by the state football coaches association in each state. Currently 35 states name a Broyles Award winner. The goal is to have all 50 states involved.

In December, Yerly will travel to Little Rock for the awards banquet.

“We get to go when the NCAA does their end of season coaching awards, and they honor us. We get a ring and cool stuff like that.”

Yerly was nominated for the award by Byron head football coach Jeff Boyer.

“There’s a lot of guys on my staff that I could nominate and say that they should be assistant coach of the year, but Eric, he’s just done a great job over the years,” said Boyer.

Yerly is Byron’s defensive line coach and running backs coach, and he’s in charge of special teams.

“He demands perfection out of us,” said Byron running back Kye Aken. “He demands us to work as hard as we can no matter what.”

“I’m not a ‘yes’ man, that’s for sure,” said Yerly. “My job is kind of to push Jeff and ask him tough questions and push Sean (Considine) on defense and ask him tough questions, and that’s why we end up with a good product.”

Yerly carries out his football coaching duties while also handling the reigns as the head coach of Byron’s girls’ varsity basketball team. The Lady Tigers were second in the state last season. Byron won back-to-back state championships under Yerly in 2016 and in 2017.
So how does he pull all of it off?

“We have good kids. That’s really my girls and basketball. They know it’s 6 a.m. practices for about four weeks. I think that’s kind of the big reason why I’ve gotten this award too is Jeff knows my commitment to both programs and kind of sees that.

Yerly says his Broyles Award is really a team award.

“It’s just a byproduct of the success that we’ve had here. You know Jeff (Boyer) and Sean (Considine) are great coordinators, offense and defense, so when you have guys like that, good leadership, stuff like this kind of happens.”