Making its fourth change since 2004, Immaculate Conception has hired Bill Krefft as its new head varsity football coach.
A 2003 IC graduate who was an all-state defensive end on the Knights' 2002 Class 3A championship team, Krefft returned to his alma mater as a coach with IC's 2008 2A title team. He succeeds Chris Van Dyke, who last fall led the Knights to a 6-4 record in his sole season in Elmhurst after replacing Mike Alberts.
"I'm very excited, I'm looking forward to the season," said Krefft, a special-education teacher at Jefferson Junior High in Woodridge where his mentor, 2005-08 IC coach Bill Schmidt, is principal.
"I know we have a big group of young men who have been working hard throughout the off-season and I'm very excited to work with everyone going forward, to be part of the Immaculate Conception family still," Krefft said.
Last season Krefft served as Van Dyke's defensive coordinator after two years coaching Knights offensive and defensive lines and two years as the junior varsity defensive coordinator. Krefft earned a 2007 bachelor's degree in business from Augustana, where he was a three-year letterman at linebacker. A Melrose Park native and resident, he got his master's in special education from Northeastern Illinois.
Krefft, 27, first attended Immaculate Conception as a high school freshman. He's come to love the place.
"I learned a lot about the people," he said. "I think that's the most valuable thing about IC, is that there's a certain type of family, a certain community between the people there that is extraordinary and very hard to find in life. The way people care about the school and the way we care about the young people in the school, it's very rare."
IC athletic director Darren Howard praised Krefft's ability not only as a coach but also as one who "passes on the positives of the school to prospective parents and students."
Krefft, who directed a 4-3 defense shifted from the Knights' longtime 3-5 scheme, will return five defensive starters and seven offensive starters, including Daily Herald All-Area quarterback Demetrius Carr. They helped the Knights to a 4-1 record in the Suburban Christian Conference Gold Division, behind only Class 3A champion Aurora Christian.
"Coach Van Dyke did a nice job of building the program for the future," Krefft said. "He instilled a nice set of values in those returning starters that will make it so much easier to coach this year. They've already bought into the program and are working their way forward."