Combating crime and coaching football, the two sides of Kurt Whisenand

High School Football

ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — Many high school football coaches are also teachers, but not all of them. One coach who helps out at Hononegah is one of Rockford top law enforcement officials.

On a late Monday afternoon Kurt Whisenand can often be found at Hononegah’s varsity football practice. At other times during the week, he can often be found at crime scenes in Rockford investigating some of the most violent crimes imaginable. He is a Deputy Chief with the Rockford Police Department.

“In college I got interested in really federal law enforcement. My plan originally was to do three years and then apply federally to a federal job. That didn’t work out because I got here, and I realized that the stuff that really drew me to the profession was here every day on the streets with the community.”

Whisenand is also drawn to athletics and helping young athletes grow. He has a special bond with this year’s seniors at Hononegah.

“I started coaching them in junior tackle when some of them were only seven years old, and I have coached them every year up through junior tackle and now through high school.”

Whisenand is a volunteer coach at Hononegah who helps out wherever he’s needed with the varsity team, but mostly he works with the quarterbacks because he himself was a quarterback at Hononegah and a very good one.

In his senior year, the fall of 1987, he passed for almost 1800 yards and 22 touchdowns. He and receiver Scott Van Schelven were a dynamic combination. Another player on that team was current Hononegah head coach Brian Zimmerman.

“I was a lineman,” said Zimmerman. “He was the quarterback, so we’ve had a very long-standing relationship.” 

So what was Whisenand like as a quarterback?

“I think as a quarterback he was pretty demanding,” said Zimmerman. “He had very high expectations. He definitely was a quarterback that I feel like ran the show. When he spoke in the huddle the guys listened.

“His quarterback knowledge is invaluable, and I just greatly appreciate the fact that he can be here and give some tips and pointers to our guys.”

Whisenand’s son Isaac is Hononegah’s starting quarterback right now.

“I’m very proud of him,” said Whisenand of his son. “A lot of people see the finished product on Friday night. Obviously, I’m privy to the hard work and everything he does behind the scenes.”

Whisenand shows up to practices when he can and to most games on Friday nights when his police work doesn’t keep him away. There is some stress that goes with being a football coach, but being around football helps relieve some of the stress that Whisenand deals with in his day job.

“Yea compared to my different everyday job this is really easy, and it’s really rewarding.”

If there’s one thing that football and police work have in common it’s that sense of being part of a team.

“The teamwork that you do like in a team sport like football carries over into law enforcement because we are just a big family, and that teamwork where you have to depend on each other, and really help each other through adversity.”

Whisenand is happy to be a part of this team that’s on top of the NIC-10.

“These are memories that I’ll take for the rest of my life. Not just with Isaac, but with all these kids.”



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