The Marian Catholic football program not only has a new coach, but a new look.
First-year coach Jerry Verde, who led Crete-Monee to the Class 6A state title last fall, said he modeled it after what he did when he took over at Crete in 2007.
"We wanted a logo that was football specific," Verde said "Josh Howe, an assistant coach, put in a lot of time in developing this one. I think he did a great job.
"The rational behind it is that we wanted it to be able to stand alone, and still convey that it represents 'Marian Catholic Football.'"
The logo has a Spartan head inside a football with the words "Spartan, Family, Win" underneath the logo.
Howe, a 2007 Marian grad, said he looked at several Spartan logos, including Michigan State's Sparty.
"I like to draw a lot and I just kept trying different drawings and took a little from different logos," Howe said. "I liked the ruggedness of the Michigan State Spartan head and just doodled some ideas and we came up with this one."
Verde said it was not just for the sake of change.
"There are many aspects of the football program that I will proudly be keeping as tradition," he said. "The logo is one aspect that has changed over the years, and I felt comfortable making my own change. The players and most others that have involvement in the program really like it."
Mattix making a move: Bob Mattix, who was a Homewood-Flossmoor assistant football coach under Craig Buzea the last three years, will be a freshman coach at Portage.
Mattix was Portage's head coach from 1989-93 and Buzea was an assistant under him, then succeeded Mattix as head coach of the Indians.
Mattix said he enjoyed his stay at H-F, but it the travel was getting harder for the Portage resident.
"Obviously, it is a little bit of a longer trip to Homewood-Flossmoor than to Portage," Mattix said. "I will miss it, but I feel I can help at Portage and (head coach) Wally McCormack."
Mattix said he is excited.
"Even when I was head coach, I felt the freshman coaches are very important to your program," Mattix said. "You have kids from the two middle schools — Fegely and Willowcreek, plus Nativity kids — and it gives you a chance to work with the younger kids and get them ready for the varsity."
The 1967 Hobart graduate played on Russ Deal's last team and Don Howell's first team.
Turner new Freeport boys hoops coach: Former Thornridge boys basketball coach and Crete-Monee sophmore coach Danny Turner is the new boys basketball coach at Freeport.
The Pretzels program has struggled recently, but Turner said he is optimistic he can turn it around.
"We have some good young kids, but kids with experience," Turner said. "I am so excited the way the kids have worked so far. We are in the (Machesney Park) Harlem summer league and we are going up against some of the schools in our conference (Northern Illinois-10 Conference)."
Legendary coach Adolph Rupp coached at Freeport in 1928-29 before leaving for Kentucky.