By Cathy Lirette
Come this fall, followers of Northwest High School football will notice new leadership of the varsity football team as Corey Toenjes has taken the job of head coach and will lead the players this upcoming season.
Toenjes replaces Nick Hoth, who stepped down from the position after the last season. Fear not though, as Hoth is still playing a role in Northwest football as the football program’s strength and conditioning coach.
“When Hoth resigned last year, I began looking around for a new, qualified coach,” said Jeff Taggart, district activities director. “I received a lot applications, but decided to go with Corey because of the quality of character that he brings to the district and the teams he coaches. It was a bonus that he was already on staff at the high school and had been assistant coach for football and girls’ basketball over the past three years.”
Toenjes first started coaching football as an intern while attending Southern Illinois University, where he was studying physical education.
After graduation, he began substituting at Carbondale High School in Illinois and was the assistant varsity coach for the football team for two seasons.
“I took a small break from teaching and coaching when I got a marketing job for Jimmy John’s corporate in 2011,” Toenjes said. “But it wasn’t too long until I began missing my prior career and wanted to go back to it.”
In 2013, he was hired on with the Northwest School District and began teaching business classes at the high school. He also became assistant coach for the freshman football and girls basketball teams.
“Since I took the position, I’ve been making the boys do off-season workouts such as lifting and conditioning in the gym,” he said. “The team also attended a week-long football camp and have been playing on a 7 on 7 league at Windsor High School in Imperial. For weeks now they’ve been competing against other teams every Tuesday and will continue to do so till the end of July.”
Toenjes’ goal as head coach is to help produce fine, young men that the school and community can be proud of. He also wants to teach them the value of hard work, teamwork and dedication.
“The team’s goal is to win games and compete for conference championship,” Toenjes said. “The team has been solid over the past couple of years and the boys have a lot of momentum. I want to keep that going and to go forward as strong as possible.”
Last year, the varsity team ended the season with four wins and six losses. Toenjes wants to reverse that and then go from there.
Varsity practice begins July 31 for the upcoming season and the first game is a home game scheduled on Aug. 18.