MIKE NIETO: Crete-Monee made the right choice in John Konecki

2013-01-31T18:00:00Z 2014-10-09T22:30:14Z MIKE NIETO: Crete-Monee made the right choice in John KoneckiMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
January 31, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

Not only did Crete-Monee act quickly, but it got the right guy for the football job in John Konecki.

Konecki was appointed director of football operations and head coach. He succeeds Jerry Verde, who built the program into a state power, before taking the head coaching job at his prep alma mater Marian Catholic.

Konecki was part of that ride that culminated in a 14-0 record and a Class 6A state title. He was the offensive coordinator of a unit that put plenty of points on the board and would have put more on if the dogs had not been called off.

This was a crucial hire for the district. A wrong hire and several of those kids might have moved or transferred, or worse yet, parents with teenage sons might decide to look elsewhere when looking for a community to live.

I know District 201-U is more than football and education is first, but football and athletics are part of the big picture. The more solid families you have, the better your tax base and the more parental and community participation you have in all extra-curricular activities.

You saw how the community rallied around the team and the pride that was spread throughout the communities that feed into Crete-Monee High School. People wore their blue and gold paraphernalia with pride and they should have.

Konecki is smart enough to know that he does not have to start from scratch. He said on Monday that he is not throwing out the script and writing a new one. Nothing is broke and there is plenty of talent returning.

While another state title is no sure thing, Konecki and his staff will do their best to their best to keep the program at the top.

"I told the kids that it is easier to get to the top than it is to stay there," Konecki said. "Once you are there, you have to keep working like you are still trying to get to the top. There are plenty of teams who will want to knock you down."

The Schererville resident has head coaching experience, as he is the head coach of the Chicago Force of the Women's Football Alliance, and is also the head coach and offensive coordinator for the Swedish Men's National Team.

"I think I have coached in something like 114 games, about half as a head coach," Konecki said. "I am really excited and I know I have a good group of kids and strong support."

One thing Konecki has to do is find a defensive coordinator. That was what Verde did. I am sure he will and not much will change under his coaching reign. That includes winning.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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