Thorgesen to take over at Geneva
Boone Thorgesen has long kept this message front and center as a football coach: "One of the [most fun] times you can have is playing high school football."
That'll be one of several focal points moving forward as Geneva ushers in a new era for its varsity football program.
Thorgesen, a former All-State quarterback at Kaneland who played collegiately at Northern Illinois, has been hired to succeed Rob Wicinski.
Thorgesen previously served as Geneva's sophomore coach for five seasons.
"We want to make it, when they leave Geneva, that they're going to say: 'Playing football at Geneva is one of the coolest things I did,' " Thorgesen said. "That's what we're striving for. I think we have the right kids and we're going to try and give as much excitement to our Geneva football program as we can."
Wicinski, an Illinois High School Football Coaches Hall of Famer, announced his retirement last month after 22 seasons at Geneva.
"[Wicinski is] a great coach, a friend, a mentor; he's meant everything to this program for the last 22 years," Thorgesen said. "He's a Hall of Fame coach. Those don't grow on trees and he was about running a first-class program that was about the development [and character] of kids. Character is always first and is always going to be first at Geneva. Hats off to him and I wish him the best in his retirement."
Thorgesen himself comes from good coaching stock.
Thorgesen's father, Joe, was a longtime head coach at Kaneland from 1981 through 2007. Joe Thorgesen won 150 games and back-to-back 14-0 Class 3A state championships in 1997 and 1998.
Boone Thorgesen, as a high schooler at Kaneland, threw for 5,784 yards and 63 touchdowns, and ran for 1,829 yards with 24 scores in his career.
In 2006, he compiled 4,767 total yards of offense, which ranks third all-time in IHSA history for an individual season. His 3,719 passing yards that season ranks 13th in IHSA history and his 45 passing touchdowns are tied for 15th all-time for a single season. He virtually rewrote the Kaneland passing record book and led the Knights to the Class 5A semifinals in his father's final season as head coach.
"The biggest thing I took from him was caring about your players," Thorgesen said. "So many times I've seen players that played for my Dad and they talked about how much he meant to them. I always thought that was really cool. That's something I want my players to think of me when they graduate. Just how much it meant to play for me, play for Geneva, put on our colors and play for your school."
"He understands football. He understands the big scheme of things, too, about the kids," Geneva athletic director Dave Carli said. "Kids respond to him. Kids are motivated by him and it's been seen. It's been seen in the school building. It's been seen on the practice field and games and everything."
Thorgesen is currently finalizing his staff, a process that is expedited due to summer football camps coming in the next several weeks.
"Everything is expedited with the process of putting your style into it and finding out the right guys and the right fit for everywhere," Thorgesen said. "I truly believe in our staff and I truly believe in the people we have leading this program. We just got to go from there.
"We're going to play an exciting style of football. We're going to play hard. We're going to play fast. The biggest thing is: We want kids that come into Geneva wanting to play football. We want them to have an experience that lasts a lifetime."