POPLAR GROVE, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — There are a lot of examples of high school football teams that have fathers and sons who are coaches and players on the same team. You don’t find many teams though with three generations from one family unless you attend a North Boone football game.
Chris Doetch is the senior who plays receiver and defensive back for North Boone.
His dad Jeremy is an assistant coach who works with the quarterbacks and helps breakdown game film. His dad Lennie is the Vikings’ longtime defensive coordinator. Yep, if you’re going to go up against North Boone’s football team, you’re also going to have to go up against the Doetch family.
I think it’s something that’s pretty unique,” said North Boone head coach Ryan Kelley. “It’s been really fun to not only get to know each one of the members of the Doetch family, but just to see their interactions and really their passion for the North Boone football program.
Chris is a senior, so he won’t be part of the North Boone football program next year. Neither will Lennie. He’s retiring. He’s been helping coach at North Boone since 1992 back when Dale Purvis was the head coach and North Boone finished second in the state.
“I was coaching in the junior tackle program here, and he asked me to start helping out with the varsity, so ’92 was my first year.”
Of course, Lennie Doetch also played football for North Boone. He graduated from here in 1976.
“I played defensive back and wide receiver back then. We didn’t throw the ball like we do today.”
Chris Doetch admits it been special having his grandfather be a part of his high school football career.
“It’s been pretty special to have, you know, my grandpa, and then also my dad coaching right now. It makes me happy to see them both on the field with me.”
I asked Chris describe what his grandfather is like as a coach.
“I’d say very energetic. He cares a lot about the kids. Sometimes he gets a little mad at times, but it’s not terrible. That’s kind of understanding from a coach.”
“He’s our defensive coordinator, but he’s really a lot more than that for me,” said Kelley. “He’s been a mentor to me. I’ve leaned on his experience quite a bit.”
Lennie is retiring so that he can spend more time being a grandfather, watching Chris and Chris’ older brother Will play ball in college, and watching his other grandchildren play sports at Huntley High School, plus his wife Tammy is about to retire from teaching at North Boone.
Lennie, and all of the Doetch family members will have so many memories to share from North Boone and their time together with the football teams.
“I feel so blessed,” said Lennis. “A couple years ago I had both of them, both my grandsons starting on our defense, so that was pretty awesome, and to have my son involved in it, I coached him, and I coached his friends, and now I’ve coached their kids.” “You just love the teams, and you get to know all the kids, and that’s the special part of it, and getting to know everybody in the community,” said Lennie Doetch.
“I’m going to be sad when, you know, that last time I walk off. I’m not going to lie.”
Sadly, for everyone at North Boone that moment came Friday night when North Boone lost in the playoffs to Monmouth Roseville.
NOTE: Lennie Doetch was also the boys’ varsity head basketball coach at North Boone for four years from 2005-2009, and Lennie’s daughter-in-law and Chris’ mother Beth Doetch is currently the varsity boys’ head basketball coach at North Boone.