Tom Cappel said he is happy to be back as a prep coach.
The former Hillcrest coach spent the last few seasons as an assistant at St. Xavier. He is also happy to be the head coach at Crete-Monee. He signed his contract Wednesday after being announced on Aug. 24.
"I like the high school game, and I love the opportunity to coach at Crete-Monee," Cappel said. "I am looking forward to meeting the players, and I know there are high expectations."
The Warriors were 25-4 last year and lost in the Class 4A Illinois State Supersectional.
Cappel is a straight shooter and a winner. The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Famer won 502 games at Hillcrest and 20 conference titles in the old South-Inter Conference Association, including 19 in a row. His Hillcrest teams made two trips to the Class A Elite Eight. He is glad to be at Crete, but Crete should be more than glad to have him.
The program deserves a big-name coach. Rocky Hill built the program back up, and then Matt Ryndak took the program one step further. Ryndak was fired in June and is charged with eight counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. His next court date is Sept. 12.
Part of Cappel's job is to restore the confidence in the player, parents and community, and I have no doubt he will. He has yet to meet his team but said he will Wednesday.
"I think we have a good group, and we want to move forward," Cappel said. "We have some good players, and we may have got behind with me not being there in the summer, but as long as they played summer ball and worked on their games, I think they will be fine."
The Warriors return six players, including point guard Michael Orris, Marvie Keith and LaQuon Treadwell. If anyone can get the players focused on the upcoming season, it is Cappel.
It took the administration and board some time to name a coach, but I can understand why they were extra careful and made sure every "t" was crossed and every "i" was dotted.
"I always thought this was a good job," Cappel said. "I heard about the opening when I was on the golf course with my son (Craig). A friend of his called and told him about the opening. I figured I would apply."
Teams will be more than ready to play the Warriors, but that's fine with Cappel.
"I know we will be prepared," Cappel said. "That's not a bad position to be in. We just have to go into the season ready to work."
That you can count on from Cappel, and he will not give the district any less than hard work.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.