MIKE NIETO: What's next for T.F. North's football program?

2013-11-21T18:00:00Z 2013-11-22T00:07:13Z MIKE NIETO: What's next for T.F. North's football program?Mike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
November 21, 2013 6:00 pm  • 

When you look back on Artie Rogers' five years as head football coach at T.F. North, he impacted the kids he coached.

He did so when he was an assistant there under Tim Zasada from 2002-2006 and he will continue to influence the lives of young men.

Rogers instilled pride in the kids not only on the field. Junior lineman Jamal Williams said Rogers was like a second father to him. I am sure he was to a lot of kids.

Rogers is a dad with two children — one in high school and another a pre-teen. It is important that he be a dad to them and that means going to volleyball games, football games and their school events. It was hard and he had to choose.

He made the program competitive and despite low enrollment numbers and other things coaches are up against, his teams played hard. They didn't always win, but they played hard.

That is also a credit to his staff who put in coaching hours and, as I mentioned, spent time with kids outside of football. They dealt with outside issues and did their best. They were as part of Calumet City as Misch's is down the street on Burnham Avenue.

The job now is for athletic director Dale Pietranczyk, principal Dwayne Evans and the District 215 school board to find a replacement. This is a key hire and while they need to move quickly, they have to make sure they get a guy who is a good fit for Calumet City.

The community needs to buy into the program and I am not sure every parent bought into what Rogers and his staff was trying to do. If North is to be successful in football, everyone has to be on the same page.

If an assistant wants the job, they should take a good look at him. If not, the new coach should look at keeping anyone who wants to stay aboard. Rogers and his staff worked hard and pushed the kids, but they also knew when to take some time to laugh. They kept the kids loose, thus kids liked playing for them. Unfortunately, not enough went out and Rogers, like Rodney Lacy and Tim Zasada before him, fought the numbers game.

This hire is important. A new coach may get a few more kids out because that always happens. It has to be someone willing to take on the outside problems that Rogers did and make things run smoothly. The parents need to realize what it takes to build a program.

That includes getting involved.

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

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