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Elgin High School hired 2002 graduate Kyle Rohde on Wednesday to be the 25th football coach in the program's 115-year history.
Rohde, 29, has been a member of the Elgin staff since 2007. He spent the last three seasons as defensive coordinator under former coach Dave Bierman, who resigned last fall following a 1-8 season. Rohde was a long snapper and offensive lineman at Millikin University from 2002-2006.
"I'm excited," Rohde said. "I've been waiting for it for a long time. I've always wanted to be the guy and now I have my opportunity."
The foremost challenge for Elgin's new coach centers on participation numbers. The Maroons were rarely able to scrimmage in practice last fall due to an already thin roster that became further depleted by injuries.
"The first thing is establishing a solid staff, trying to get as many people on board as possible who want to get things going the right way," Rohde said. "After that's established, we'll get our kids academically on track and everything will follow.
"It's going to be a mad rush here for a couple of weeks with the timing. I've been pretty prepared, hoping everything would go the way it has. Now it's just a matter of putting all the pieces together, getting a coaching staff organized and getting camp started for the summer. A lot of the kids have been lifting and a lot participate in other sports, so I don't think we'll miss a beat."
Rohde said the defensive schemes will likely remain the same, though Elgin fans can expect a more run-oriented offense.
"I came from this program, played both ways, and in college we played smash-mouth football, a lot of running the ball," Rohde said. "I'm not bringing in a high-tech offense or something like that. We'll be in shape for four quarters, that's for sure. And we're going to play hard."