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New Hersey football coach Joe Pardun knows all about transitioning.
When he was a high school football player at Fremd in the mid 1990's, Pardun was a member of a Viking football team that went from Joe Samojedny to Mike Donatucci. Then at Hersey, where he was the defensive coordinator for nine years, he worked under Mike Mullaney, then Mark Gunther and most recently Dragan Teonic.
Last Monday night, it was Pardun's turn to transition after being named head coach of the Huskies.
"I have wanted to be a head football coach ever since my junior year when I played for coach Donatucci," Pardun said. "I began my career playing in a program under Samojedny. I got to see how two great coaches do things. I want to be a combination of both those guys. They both had huge influences on me."
Pardun was named Hersey's coach just weeks after Teonic was relieved of head coach duties due to budgetary constraints at Hersey. With District 214 looking to have a head coach inside the building, the job was opened up.
"We had a lot of good candidates from around our area," Hersey athletic director Steve Messer said. "Pardun really knocked it out of the park in the interview. When he stood up against the other candidates it was pretty clear.
"He is a great coach for us in football for a long time. He has really grown. And I really like his leadership. He has strong character and has a passion for Hersey football."
Pardun has had a passion for football since he played youth football in Palatine. He was an all-conference tight end and outside linebacker for Fremd in 1996. But health concerns unrelated to football ended his career after high school.
"That was part of my motivation," Pardun said. "It is harder to get to this level not playing in college, but that is what drove me."
He attended Eastern Illinois and was hired in 2000 as a math teacher at Hersey. Besides teaching, he is also the response to intervention coordinator at Hersey, where me makes sure that students have a successful transition to high school.
Pardun, who is also an assistant baseball coach, has been the Huskies' defensive coordinator for the past nine seasons. He has been part of the resurgence of Hersey football that saw the Huskies qualify for the playoffs last year for the first time since 2004.
"We have worked to build this thing," Pardun said. "It is great to already have a relationship. I know our strengths and weaknesses and I know what we can do -- and not do. It also helps with our staff. I am not looking to change any of our schemes."
The ability to lead is what drew Messer immediately to Pardun.
"We were very pleaded with coach Teonic," Messer said. "Things were going in a positive direction. I know it will be a smooth transition.
"You have10 or 15 assistant coaches you have to direct. That takes a lot of work. He has shown that he is ready to do that."
Pardun, who met with the Hersey players last Wednesday, is eager to get started.
"Part of the reason I wanted this job is that because of our kids," Pardun said. "They have made a commitment to takes this to the next level. They are a group of gritty kids and I am looking forward to working with them."