By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
The Rockford Jefferson J-Hawks became the second Rockford public school to name a former Illinois High School Association state champion to run its football program.
The J-Hawks named former Stillman Valley standout and Rockford College assistant football coach Patrick Babcock to be the head coach of their football program.
“We’re extremely excited to have coach Babcock come to Jefferson,” Jefferson Principal Don Rundall said. “The experience he brings, the knowledge that he brings and the state championships that he has behind him are a great addition to our program.”
Babcock was a key player for the 1999 Stillman Valley Cardinals team that won a state championship. He also was a part of the last Big Ten championship for the University of Illinois.
Since that time, he coached at Macalester College before moving to Rockford College to coach in 2007.
The J-Hawks have been a program on the upswing in recent years, going 3-6 and 4-5 the last two season. Babcock said the key as he steps into the program is to continue to build on the foundation that has been laid.
“It’s a matter of continuing to build on that relationship with hard-nosed football,” he said. “Continue to be in the weight room and continue to take the program in the same direction it was going.”
He also said it will take time to establish his program. But with the full support of the school, he said the program should continue to improve.
“There is potential for growing pains and learning pains as we get in there,” Babcock said. “But, hopefully, you don’t take a big step back.”
From the May 23-29, 2012, issue