Age is but a number
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The season ending loss against Peoria High School signaled the start of the offseason for head coach Mike Troll and assistant Trevor Von Bruenchenhein. Within a month, athletic director Wendy Smith announced Troll was stepping down and Von Bruenchenhein was named the new head play caller.
“It (offseason training) started immediately after the season ended and even before I knew I was going to be the head coach,” Von Bruenchenhein said.
As Von Bruenchenhein steps into a bigger leadership role on the team some questions surrounding his experience have come up as points of criticism.
Von Bruenchenhein began his playing career while he was in 8th grade and played throughout high school. He started as varsity linebacker his junior and senior year making it to the state semifinals those years. Despite the doubt, he feels confident in the how much he has learned in his time both playing and coaching different teams.
“It doesn’t necessarily matter how old you are when it comes to leadership ability. I would imagine I’ve learned more in my five years here than some other coaches might in 15 or 20,” Von Bruenchenhein said.
U-High puts high expectations on players and coaches in the classroom as well as on the field. Coaches not only have to balance team activities but also the teaching and education of all students in their classes.
“There’s so many other things that go beyond coaching. I’ve got my teaching load, my football load, and I’ve got my family. By stepping down I’ll get to dedicate more time to family and teaching,” Troll said.
Zach Gocker, a returning varsity player, along with many other players have already started preparing for next year. Many of the players are eager for a coming season that holds prior varsity experience and a new face at the helm.
“I’m really excited for Von B. I think it’s going to be really good to have someone that’s as excited as we are to be out there playing,” Gocker said.
Coaching has many demands beyond games, practices, and player development. Coaches also coordinate college recruiting, keep track of team equipment, and devote a large amount of their free time to the preparation of the team for the coming week’s game.
“As a defensive coordinator I put in seven to eight hours both Saturday and Sunday, and probably tack on another two to three hours for head coaching responsibilities,” Von Bruenchenhein said.
Even with the grueling schedule that a varsity coach may have between teaching, football and family coach Von Bruenchenhein says he will be able to balance all aspects of his life with one key ingredient.