Larkin names Planz new coach
New Larkin football coach Ron Planz can explain to a high school player exactly what college coaches look for in a recruit.
After all, Planz was a college coach his entire adult life until Wednesday, when he was introduced as the next coach by the Elgin high school.
Planz, 39, spent the last five seasons as head coach at Elmhurst College until what he called "a mutual parting" following a 1-9 campaign in 2018.
He succeeds Jason Aubry, who was hired in December to be the new head coach at Concordia University in River Forest.
Planz said the stability of a high school coaching position made sense for his family.
"I have two young kids and I'm looking for an opportunity to be around them as much as possible," said Planz, who played football at Fenton High School and Carthage College. "There are a ton of benefits to the college game, and there are also some negatives. One of them is the time you're away from family. This felt like a good time to pursue high school."
Planz also was hired to teach physical education to 150 students. According to Larkin athletic director Ethan Karolczak, the school formed separate committees for the open P.E position and the head coaching vacancy in search of the best candidate for each.
"Hands down, Ron was the number one pick for each position by separate committees," Karolczak said. "He was extremely professional, extremely well prepared, level headed but you can tell he's very passionate about doing things the right way.
"His philosophy on the true purpose of interscholastic athletics and what they do to develop the whole person are right in line with ours. We're really, really excited to have him."
Prior to his stint at Elmhurst, Planz spent five seasons as defensive line coach and special teams coordinator at Division II Minnesota State. That followed a five-year stint as the defensive coordinator at Manchester College.
That was preceded by three seasons as receivers/secondary coach at Wisconsin-Eau Claire, a job he took right after graduation from Carthage.
"I walked off the stage, drove to UW-Eau Claire, started coaching and I've been doing it ever since," Planz said.
The new Larkin coach said he is itching to get started.
"Larkin fits with the kind of high school I went to," he said. "The demographics from Fenton to Larkin really aren't much different, so I feel like I can connect and make a difference in the kids' lives at Larkin."
Fenton is slated to replace West Aurora in the Upstate Eight Conference next fall. Larkin and Fenton are scheduled to meet in the season opener on Aug. 30.