Bloom Township has had 10 boys varsity basketball coaches since 1925. Only three stayed fewer than eight years, and only two had losing records.
Is it any wonder the position, open with Jasper Williams' retirement last month after 10 years, should draw a flood of applicants?
"The number strikes me as about what I thought it would," District 206 Superintendent Lenell Navarre said Friday. "We received 27 applications. We usually average about 10 or 11 for varsity openings."
Among those applicants, Navarre said, "Experience ranges from the college level to the grade school level."
At least eight of those applicants are current boys varsity high school coaches in the state, he said, and at least three of them are current boys varsity coaches in the south suburbs.
Thus far Navarre has established a hiring committee which would cull the field to "six to eight" candidates who would receive interviews from the committee.
The committee, he said, includes "teachers, administrators, a couple of basketball players — a senior who was a four-year member of the program and a junior, three-year member who's got a season left — and a parent." Referring to that group as "stakeholders," he added, "They will recommend two candidates to my attention for the second round.
"I will interview the two and then we will make a final decision."
Navarre said he hoped that decision would be recommended to and finalized by the board at its May 13 meeting, though he added, "That's not a hard deadline."
Williams won 199 games for the Blazing Trojans in 10 years. In a Bloom basketball history that dates to 1911, that total ranks him third behind Wes Mason (317 wins from 1967-82) and Cecil Sarff (221, 1925-45).
But finding a winning coach, Navarre said, is only part of the equation.
"I'm looking for a basketball coach," he said, "but I'm also looking for a mentor, I'm looking for a father, someone who will help shape these young men and help them get a high school diploma.
"I'm looking for a father figure, because that was what we had in Jasper."
That figure won't necessarily have to be a full-time presence at the school. Bloom's criteria for the job requires either teaching or coaching certification, not both.
"I can be a mentor to a player if I'm coaching him after school, if I'm around in the offseason," Navarre said. "We're not saying you have to teach to do that.
"The most important thing is finding the right person for the job."